What do you think: Can we can change the course of our family’s history by the way we live?
Is this true in your experience? I’m living out the struggle every day as my father’s primary caregiver while he is in the process of leaving this earth. Some days he responds to the pain poorly. And I watch myself and ask, “How would I do in his shoes? And what will my children learn from me?”
There is a cycle that tends to repeat itself from one generation to the next. A verse in Exodus talks about these ripple effects going out three or four generations. That’s sobering – my mistakes can impact my grandchildren and their children.
One of the abiding themes of my life is to pour into young people so that they might interrupt this cycle. Turn an abusive father’s heart toward God and he can choose to stop the abusive behavior.
I also look at my own children. A friend texted me this thought: that we can “sow into our parents what we’d like to reap from our own children as they watch our example.”
That’s profound. What I’m doing is hard work. My dad’s prospects are poor. I’m busy. It would be easier to leave his caregiving to the professionals. But we’re commanded to honor our parents and I’m trying to do that.
I’m seeing that there are patterns that my parents got from their parents. Some good, some bad. Many in my generation may have done a poor job of parenting their kids. But their past doesn’t have to be prologue. If they want to invest in their grandkids, maybe the best thing they can do is change the sometimes poor example they may be setting.
What do you think? What example did you receive from your parents and what do you hope to pass on to your kids and their kids?