Should You Still Buy Green Bananas When You’re 80 Years Old?

Josi Gago and Mr. Ropp

Lessons from another generation.


I recently got to spend a Saturday afternoon with an old-time friend celebrating his 80th birthday and was honored to reminisce my childhood memories, funny stories, and many lessons learned over the years.  I recall as a little girl how I often found myself enjoying the company of those much older and wiser than myself and I realize not much has changed. 

I am often surprised how young people today don’t value the wisdom past generations bring to the table and how I recently had to remind my own children to be patient with me, after all, I did have to teach them how to use a spoon.  Yes, that may be a bit sarcastic, but true non-the less, remember all the gagging?

So as I sat with my friend I recalled some of the lessons he taught me and I took the time to share them with the group. His life as a Pastor has been nothing short of adventurous as he left his mark around the world in places like Haiti and Suriname.  His humor has traveled the world along with his heart and love for God. 

His lessons are many and here are just a few:

1. Hard work will never kill you.

As a Bible Teacher, my friend, often times had to prepare lessons for his students in advance and as a father of 3 girls, 1 son, and me as the frequent “sleep over” 4th daughter, we were often assigned as “free hired help”.  I was no more than 11 years old at the time and hated the task of stapling papers and organizing files, but today, understand the discipline of getting the job done.

Saturdays were considered just another workday and Sundays were the only day of rest.  He would assign each of us jobs and our reward was play AFTER the work was done. Sundays was our day of worship, and boy did we worship!  Remember, he was a Pastor after all! 

2. Always set the right tone before mealtime.

As the head of the household (and there can only be one), I learned that the gathering of the family at the table and the mood before a meal was critical to the meal itself.  My friend, Mr. Ropp would usually read a scripture, say a quick prayer, and come out with some silly joke before the meal began.  It was three little things that seemed to work great together. 

You had the seriousness of the scripture, the spiritual part of the prayer, and the lightheartedness of the joke.  I didn’t usually get the joke but it never really mattered, we still laughed and by the time we began to eat, our moods were set and our hearts were lighted.  The food had better taste and whatever was weighing heavy just seemed to lift up and be carried away by the time the meal was over.    

Next- 3. He was a man of His House


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