Chevy Chase portraying Clark W. Griswold cracks me up. “The last true family man,” according to his co-worker in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Clark fumbles his way through the Christmas holiday trying to make the most of his time with his immediate and extended family. (If you haven’t seen this one, I’m sure you can find it easily in the coming weeks as we approach Christmas. On TNT of course...)
For rabid Clark W. Griswold fans, you are familiar with the way he trips and stumbles his way into, and through, teachable moments with his son, Rusty.
My favorite has to be when he loaded up his clan in the "family truckster", and headed for Wally World (the first National Lampoon’s Vacation.) Amidst being stranded in the desert after he drove the family off the road, Clark and Rusty had their first of many teachable moments. Clark would end this and each of these future conversations by quipping, “Good talk, Russ”.
Say your son is in the car with you as you turn left on a red light and you are pulled over. (Not that this has ever happened to me…). You then take the time to thank the officer and explain to your son the proper way to speak to a policeman - Griswold-style. Good talk, son.
Hopefully “good talks” are a consistent part of your relationship with your son. Hopefully you have been able to take Paul’s command and “make the most of every opportunity because the days are evil.”
Teachable moments can be planned, and natural. They don't have to be awkward and uncomfortable like the above example. Jesus took his disciples to the Upper Room for a time that was highly planned, complete with ceremony. They can be purposeful by providing lasting memories. They can promote Godly teaching from one generation "leaving an inheritance for (your) children's children."
For example, I know of an 8th grader who was deeply impacted by a trip he took with his Dad in which his father gave him a sword engraved with scripture. The two discussed many things, especially the boy’s future. The time was impactful and triggered in his son the desire to pursue being a more Godly young man.
Consider more of Jesus’ work in the use of teachable moments and “good talks”. He designed and took advantage of countless opportunities to share the good news, prepare his followers for heaven, and to show them how to make disciples:
- Jesus worked one-on-one (like with Peter)
- Jesus worked with a small group (like with his inner 3 disciples)
- Jesus worked with big crowds (like the Sermon on the Mount)
- Jesus worked when accused (like with the Pharisees)
- Jesus worked when questioned by his own (like 'who will be the greatest'?)
- Jesus worked in heartache (like with Lazarus)
- Jesus worked when it seemed impossible (like feeding 5,000)
Jesus often made use of on-the-go moments:
- He used crowds’ questions
- He used disciples' folly
- He even turned accusations into knowledge
His ministry squeezed every ounce of opportunity for the benefit of all who were around. “Good talks” were the only kind he knew.
What teachable moment have you taken advantage of recently?
Regardless of how they come, make the most of them. Teachable moments don't have to be stumbled onto, or through, a la Clark W. Griswold. Maybe starting a Manhood Journey group with other dads might help with both.
Good talk, men.
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