My office shelves are filled with tokens collected during our years of service as camp director (#summercamp #camphorizon ). Each is an object with a memory and a lesson. Adult visitors to my office rarely comment on these treasures. However, children are much more curious and frequently ask to hear the story behind each artifact.
I am often asked about a pink pig that is proudly perched on an upper shelf. It reminds me of how good and kind our summer staff can be toward one another. It began when a staff member received the pig with an encouraging letter in mail call. It was such an encouragement to them that they passed it along to another. This tradition continued through the summer. By the end of camp a second pig surfaced. I was the final recipient of one of those pigs.
That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever. Joshua 4:6-7
The purpose of memorials is not just to remember the past. Memorials help us to recognized how the past is being repeated in the present. This in turn helps us to look forward to the future.
For example, this past weekend we saw flags and crosses to remind us of those that gave their lives for our freedom. It also reminds us to pray for those that are serving in our military right now. Some of these will add their names to future memorials.
Parents, when your children ask “what mean ye by these ________”, use that teachable moment to share your memories, your history, and your faith in God with them. This is the time-tested method that the Lord often uses to ensure that faith and practice are passed from generation to generation.