23rd June 2016
Last Friday marked the end of a season for me and Deb: our youngest son Sam had his final GCSE and so wore his school uniform for the last time ever! It felt like a milestone moment. For this family, Friday meant that after 20 years there will be no more uniform to wash or school shirts to iron – our three boys really are growing up and a significant season of our lives is drawing to a close.
Life never remains the same, especially if you have children. As the years pass, you move through different seasons, and each will bring its own opportunities and challenges. A number of years ago, I came across the writing of Gordon MacDonald, and I have found his observations on this subject extremely helpful. In his book A Resilient Life, he suggests that each decade of our lives raises different underlying questions and that ‘...knowing them helps us to deal with people sensitively, and gives us a better understanding of how to build a larger view of our own lives.’ The questions we ask ourselves in our 20s will vary greatly to those we ask in our 40s or 50s. Here is a sample of some of the key questions MacDonald suggests are raised as we move through the decades:
20s – What kind of a man or woman am I becoming? What will I do with my life?
30s – How do I prioritise the demands being made on my life?
40s – What can I do to make a greater contribution to my generation?
50s – Why is time moving so fast? How do I deal with my failures and successes?
60s – When do I stop doing the things that have always defined me? Do I have enough time to do all the things I’ve dreamed about in the past?
70s and 80s – Is there anything I can still contribute? Am I ready to face death?
Do any of these resonate with you? His book is well worth a read if you haven’t come across it before. It has helped me understand myself and others better. Knowing what season I am in, what lies ahead and the questions I am likely to be asking, enables me to anticipate and prepare for the opportunities and challenges that are coming, and to embrace each season I live through.
So what season are you in at the moment? It is worth some reflection.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
Steve Tibbert leads King’s Church London, with sites in Catford, Downham and Lee. Over the past fifteen years the church has seen continued growth, both in size and diversity. Steve is also involved in Newfrontiers and regularly coaches other lead elders. His book, Good to Grow, was published in July 2011. He is married to Deb, and they have three sons.