How should families care for their elderly?

July 18, 2016

Article By: Generations

Chad Roach: At Generations, we talk about family relationships, we talk about family discipleship, about the hearts of parents engaging with their children, but one of the things we found as an organization is that the same hearts of parents that would like to connect with their children in discipleship also want to connect with their parents. And the idea of Christian elder care, taking care of the elderly, taking care of the grandparents, the same families that want to pass on the faith to their children want to connect the relationships with their own parents as well.

Kevin Swanson: Well, the ministry is Generations. So, we wanna look at generations.

Chad Roach: Yep, all of them.

Kevin Swanson: All of them, yeah. And the modern age has disintegrated, the generations. They've disintegrated in terms of parents and children, institutions that sort of displaced the whole family discipleship vision. Well, the same thing is happening on the other end with the grandparents. Matthew, chapter 15 is pretty clear. Jesus is upset with the Pharisees because there are traditions of men, there are systems, institutions like Corban that had displaced the intention God had in his word, and that was for parents to take care of the grandparents, or for the children to take care of the parents in their old age, and that wasn't happening. And Jesus was upset with the Pharisees for that. If that be the case with the Pharisees, I wonder if Jesus maybe upset with any of our institutions today.

Chad Roach: Yeah, I wonder what he'd think about today.

Kevin Swanson: Yeah, because it seems like something similar is happening.

Daniel Craig: If anything, oh, Social Security.

Kevin Swanson: Well, maybe Social Security might be one institution that has displaced this idea in the minds of many, many people that they do not have any responsibility to care for their parents in their old age, and there in Matthew 15, it had to do with the financial element of caring for parents. Well, we need to continually get back to that. If that was important to Jesus, well, it needs to be important to us as well. It's so important that we revive the idea of the responsibility of children to care for the parents in their old age. Yes, I know government steps in and says, "Don't worry about discipleship, don't worry about education, don't worry about the caring of the elderly, we... "

Daniel Craig: It's all covered.

Kevin Swanson: It's all covered. We all take care of it and there's no more use for any kind of integration of the generations or any responsibility in the part of parents and children to each other. Well, that's not what I read in Matthew 15. That's not what I read in God's word. God intends for families to be integrated and for parents to be taken care of by their children in some way or another in their old age. Now again, there are different ways in which that happens, we understand that, but we need to revive this idea, we need to bring it back, it's important to Jesus, it ought to be important to us too.

Daniel Craig: There's another way that this idea of family-based elder care ties into our vision of passing on the faith, and that is that one of the things that I think children look for in parents to see whether or not they really wanna grab on to the faith is whether or not this faith is real in their lives, wanna see if this faith actually works itself out. And I know that for myself is I was able to see my parents minister to their parents. My dad went so far as to resign his job after a period of time to go take care of his mother. My mom has made similar sacrifices. When I see that faith working itself out and that kind of love for the elderly, I know that's a real faith, and that's a faith I wanna grab onto.

Kevin Swanson: And it's a message that's caught and taught. Think about it, as they honor their parents, now you honor your parents. You see how that works?

Kevin Swanson: And that's what we're talking about with generations. The integrating of the generations and the teaching of honor and living out that honor as Jesus would have as do it. Jesus on the cross, remember, he was a great example to us in this most amazing event, this spectacular event where he's saving the world and he's dying for our sins, he looks down at John and says, "John, behold your mother. Take care of her for me." See? He's honoring his mother on the cross. If Jesus can do that on the cross, we need to figure out ways to bring that back into our world today. And Christians, followers of Jesus, are gonna be at the front of the pack on this one, and that's one of the visions of this ministry.

Chad Roach: And that was the heart that came behind, one of the ministries that Generations launched, so that the same parents that didn't want to toss their kids off to the state and abandon all the responsibility for their family in that generation also could have a way to engage in the heart of even their parents and caring for them.

Kevin Swanson: And that's why we're producing the conferences, the resources, the books to encourage families and to equip them to do this very important task of caring for parents in their old age.

About Generations

The vision of Generations (formerly Generations with Vision) is to pass on the faith to the next generation through the biblical family, discipleship, and education. We equip families and churches around the world through our daily radio programs, discipleship resources, the Christian Curriculum Project, and discipleship events and retreats.

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