Of all the accusations that are thrown at us millennials, this one takes the biscuit.

A recent study shows that we have a significantly weaker hand grip than the 20 to 34 age group who were similarly tested back in 1985.

I have to say, I’m outraged. What else will we be criticised for? Now we’re in for bad jokes about our weak handshakes, as well as about our love for artisanal cereal and home-made beard oil.

Although come to think of it, there may be something more to it.

It reminds me of when I recently phoned my Dad for help with some maintenance. I’d replaced the shower head as the other one had broken, but the new washer didn’t fit in the old bracket.

I’d put up with it leaking for six months before a call to the unofficial building supervisor was required (he’s also my groundskeeper for the 6 potted plants on my balcony). I dutifully showed him the problem and where it didn’t fit and handed it over. You can imagine my slightly red face when he just pushed it in a bit harder and it easily clicked into place. Hmmm.

Well, at least I can change a lightbulb. Not that I do. I have 16 lightbulbs in my kitchen/living room. Three are currently working. I pray that the last three burn with the intensity of the Centennial Bulb, which has faithfully shone for 115 years in Livermore fire station in California. If all else fails, I shall send my next missive to you written via candle light and delivered via horse.

After watching a survival show, I felt inspired to buy some lighters and matches, should the electricity totally go out in the post-Brexit apocalypse (the Brex-ocalypse). Then someone asked me if I’d bought the candles as well. Hmmm. I seem to be losing my grip.

I wish I had my father’s grip. I love my Dad and respect him a lot. Among his many talents, he has a vast array of DIY skills that work in the home, the garden and on his car. Although his work is office-based, he has a grip that I can’t match on tightening bolts or changing wheels.

A physical therapist cited in the article linked above stated that: “The fact that you have a weak grip is important because you probably are weak elsewhere.” The opposite must also be true. If you are strong in grip, you must be strong elsewhere.

My father is strong in his marriage and in his commitment to caring for my mother, who suffers from poor health.

He is strong in his commitment to his local church and to faithfully serving week in, week out.

He is strong in integrity and in his financial dealings. Faithful is a good term. Servant will do too. He has a good grip, in other words.

This all got me thinking: if our weak grip is a sign of weakness in other areas, where might those areas be?

Are we as strong in our commitments to relationships? Is our word as good as it should be when we commit to an event? Is your answer yes, no or “maybe”?

We’re more likely to attend church only two to three weekends a month, leaving the stalwarts of the older generations to fill the gaps. The problem with that is, they’re starting to retire. Who will fill the gaps when the strong grips retire?

Even if we are to commit, to serve and to help, will our grip be good enough to loosen the bolts and the chains; to fix problems? Do we know enough practical DIY to take care of ourselves and to offer service to our families and those in need? Do we have enough spiritual skills to be useful to serve, alongside the required faithfulness that goes with it?

I think it’s time to get a grip. The gloves are off. The gauntlet has been thrown down. I’m on Amazon as we speak, ordering my grip strengtheners.

I’m changing my light bulbs, I’m signing up to serve and I will turn up, week in, week out.

It’s time I was more like my old man.

Written by Simon Wilce // Follow Simon on  Twitter

Simon hails from the North of England. He is the Operations Director for Christians Against Poverty (CAP) and has worked for CAP for over 12 years with a stint leading CAP in New Zealand. He is passionate about the church tackling poverty, and seeing disaffected young people engaging with Christianity. In his spare time he likes the great indoors, whether watching, reading or surfing media. All views are personal to him.

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