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17 January 2008

Prepping for Curmudgeonhood?

My son makes some of the wittiest remarks I've ever heard, and he often makes them simply for impact. I'm really proud of the dry sense of humor that he's developed. Chip off the old block.

On the subject of driving/riding in a car, he commented to me the other day, "Did you know that you've spent more of your life riding in the front seat instead of the back?" His intent was to delicately (with a sledgehammer) say that I am getting old, and I got his point.

As I sit here and age (I don't think I'm "old" yet, by the way), I seem to be reflecting more and more on the fact that I'm not a very openly encouraging person. Surely, at my current ripe old age, I should've already learned that it is good for a person -- a Christ-follower, especially -- to encourage people. Not "encourage" as in "motivate someone to do something," but to give people a pat on the back, provide an ear to listen to them; things like that.

An older couple (upper 70's, I'd guess) passed me on the road in our rural area, and they both made it a point to wave to me; a stranger passing them on the road. Not one to miss an opportunity to read more into the situation than was really there, and also drawing on my superior skill at over-simplification, I began to think about what type of person I'll be at that age. There were, in my estimation at the moment, three general types of "older" people (defined as "people who are at least 40 years older than I"):

A) Really nice people
2) Really matter-of-fact people
Lastly) Really grumpy people

Out of the three given options, I much prefer to be in Category A, and I realized that I'd better begin cultivating that type of personality now. I'm not talking about giving out phony praise, and of course, words other than encouraging ones are sometimes required ("In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery." Proverbs 28:23, NLT).

I just want to be known -- and eventually remembered -- as someone who spent his life loving and encouraging other people.

If you've gotten to the end of this post and are wondering what "curmudgeonhood" is, click on THIS LINK to see the definition of the root word. (Now I'm trying to think of ways to use the word "cantankerous" in a post.)


Preston N said...

You may have seen the stand up routine of Bill Cosby where he talks of his parents being overly sweet to his children. He asks himself "who are this people and what have you done with my parents"? He says it dawns on him that really nice old people are just folks trying to earn their way into heaven. :)

But I think the older we get it does dawn on us on what type of legacy do we want to leave behind. As I like to say in my 20's I was trying to find myself, in my 30's I was trying to be who I had found, and after 40 I am just trying to leave myself behind (as in leaving a legacy).

Lisa said...

I love the term "curmudgeon" as it gives the hearer an immediate idea of your thoughts! My husband can testify to that.

amateur said...

Not that I disagree with this post in any way, but being the...contrarian?...recalcitrant person that I am, I like to say, when someone talks about encouragment:

"And have you forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

'My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.'

Maybe I should duck...

Dean Lusk said...

Amateur, I don't think you're being all contrary and what-not. You're exactly right.

Encouraging people in every circumstance somehow makes me think of the classic Twilight Zone episode "It's a Good Life."

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