Boy, do I need to hear what I am about to write. I am a few weeks into my father’s two-month visit from Ghana. He flew into New Hampshire, his home base, back in mid-September to take care of some doctors’ appointments, renew his license and visit with friends. After a few weeks there, he made his way to Lakeland and has been staying with us.
He hasn’t been back to the US since 2016, and he is making a “culture shock” list of all the “new” and “surprising” things he has seen and experienced (see below for the complete list).
I am a bit embarrassed to admit this, but I was a part of one of his “new” experiences. I picked him up from the airport, and we zoomed right into Lakeland around 7 p.m. to grab some dinner from a local restaurant. We walked in, and no one greeted us at the register (I was pretty bothered). We waited for what seemed like a few minutes and then realized we were supposed to use the touch screen to order (not as bothered anymore). Already a bit embarrassed, we proceeded to order. I think my order alone cost about $25 before we called the young girl over to have her help us. My dad and I just looked at each other and laughed.
As the days have gone by, it has been quite humbling to hear of all the “new” things he has seen and experienced since being back here in 2016.
Sometimes it has been joyful to share these experiences with him, and at other times, it has been embarrassing because it has shown me how much I take for granted.
As a financial advisor, I am dealing with one of the most useful tools God has given us: money. I am talking about it and planning around it day in and day out. I help people to be wise stewards with the fruits of their labor. At times, I see the good ways money is being used, and at other times, I see the heartaches it causes. I help people plan for the season when they will not have to work for money anymore but instead live off it. This season is when people get to let their foot off the gas and rest and relax a bit more.
But that’s not for everyone, and my dad is living proof. He and his wife are spending their retirement years negotiating with government officials for land, building homes (on their 3rd now), and caring for 22 special needs kids (and more are coming)—hardly a normal retirement in most people’s terms.
I am certainly proud of him and glad to have him with us for this short time. My kids are too! At this time of Thanksgiving especially, what a wonderful example of gratitude he continues to model. He has been a great reminder that you can make plans, but ultimately, the Lord orders your steps.
Culture shock list:
No potholes, milk and creamer explosion, drivers are reckless, food choices are mind-boggling, people are friendly in stores, everyone sells coffee and offers Wi-Fi, way more churches, online food ordering, trees, self-checkout, sidewalks, electric cars, restaurant food prices doubled, hot showers and way more medical buildings.