Years ago there used to be a weatherman up in northeast Mississippi who would, from time to time talk, about an “OGNIB.” This was just a quirky way of the weatherman talking about the forecast he had given the day before that he had gotten right. Since it was the previous day’s forecast and then history, he took the world “BINGO” and spelled it backwards and said he had gotten an OGNIB. What that meant was he had forecast rain and it came, or the right temperature, or some other meteorological event, and he got it. It was an OGNIB.
A weather forecast is not perfect, exact science — a little shift of wind or timing can change when and what’s going to happen or maybe it just evaporates before it gets there — so on the days when it all came together as he anticipated, it was worthy of a celebration with an OGNIB.
As we approach Mother’s Day and celebrate family and mom and the good things that have come into our lives because of those relationships, I want to ask you to join me in pausing and looking back over our shoulder at what possibly could be called the OGNIBs of family or, pointedly, the OGNIB’s for deserving moms or dads as they raise their children.
While we want to be good parents and try to put in place the right things to achieve success in parenting and childrearing, it is usually a lifetime later — and it could well be even past our lifetimes — when the full-bloom picture comes into focus of what our efforts achieved. Still, there are some markers along the way that would be worthy of noting if they lead us to say, “That was an OGNIB.” Let me give you three things to think about as you look at your children and your parenting. Maybe you can chalk up an OGNIB or two and give thanks for God’s grace and His work in your life. Now, let me say at the outset that all a parent does may be insufficient to give direction to a rebellious son or daughter who is determined to go in wrong ways all the days of their lives. You can’t make kids grow up to fit every form you put before them and around them but overall, looking back over the experience, there are in part or at times wonderful, whole expressions of an OGNIB.
The first thing to think about is respect. As you are day-to-day raising little Johnny or Sally, respect ingrained in the mind and heart of a child is an incredible thing that will make a difference across entire lives. In the Ten Commandments when the Bible says, “Honor thy father and thy mother,” it is not just a command to children. It is also an implied need in the life of mom and dad. Honor is something you are and do that deserves honor. When children are supposed to honor and as a result obey, there needs to be something in the parents that can be seen, loved, and ultimately appreciated. If respect for one another and for parents is not nurtured and instructed and called for, it is very likely that other authority figures will not be respected: teachers, coaches, law enforcement, our leaders. As a child moves through the phases of life, he or she finds themselves bumping into those people who are in place over them only to kick and scream and blame and criticize and not show honor and respect for them. As you set out to teach your children at a very young age, it is important they learn respectful speech to those people who are in place over them and not encourage them to be disrespectful. It is important to model that for them as well as instruct them and help them to see that a life of respect for those around you and above you and authority is a good thing. I have known of people who have been so disrespectful to others and have such distain for those folks who are serving in places of leadership, and yet they wonder why their children grow up getting in trouble with all the authority figures in their lives. Parents who instill a respectful spirit — that willingness to try to do the right thing and be the right kind of person with the right kind of attitude — probably deserve an OGNIB. Respectfulness doesn’t just apply to two- or three- or four-year-olds. It fits into the whole scheme of life and makes a difference. You have helped provide a foundation of respect.
A second area of consideration is reverence. This particularly has to do with being a part of God’s people and attending worship services and having meaningful religious experiences in Christ. I grew up hearing the Word treated reverently and being taught we were to show reverence toward spiritual things, which I interpreted from what I was being told as: shut up because the organ has started playing. We are to be reverent. Reverence has to do not just with the sounds around us but looking to the Savior who is above us. The truest, ultimate experience of being reverent is to come to the moments where you are in a place before God and you have a meeting with Him. That should be the ultimate goal for every worship experience and every meaningful Bible study, that we come in contact with the Lord. If you have taught your child that to be in church and worship is an experience to come to a new meeting with Christ every time, you deserve an OGNIB.
One final thought has to do with reproduction. It’s one thing for a child to be a recipient of good parenting, but it must be reproduced in them. Reproduction is a vital part of a person’s life. To be the recipient of good things is wonderful. To reproduce those things in the next generation and the next is vital in the kingdom of God, community, and culture. A child who grows up knowing Jesus and sharing Jesus with those around him or her and providing an opportunity for others to come to know Christ, that reproduction is missions in action from the home to the ends of the earth — and to what degree you have instilled that within your children and in your family, you deserve an OGNIB.
Happy Mother’s Day!
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.