~ or your dad … or you’re “just like Aunt …’ or maybe you “act like uncle …”
We all hear it sometime. I worked in a mall while in college. During my lunch break I would go out to eat at the Chic-Fil-A. There were these three ladies that came out every week to eat there. One was 20ish, one was 40ish and one 60ish. They looked, dressed and acted like the same woman in three different decades. The youngest was fast on her way to becoming her mother (and grandmother).
That is not a bad thing, to be like one’s mom or dad … grandmother, etc. My girls like to tease me about becoming ‘grandmother’. Many would love to be 1/2 the person we might be ‘likened’ to by others. On the flip side though is the negative. When we’re young we see things in others and say, “I will never do that.” Yet, the liar begets a liar, the thief a thief, the verbal abuser … the yeller … the drunk … the angry … the impatient … the stubborn ….
Why? Because it is generational and someone has to break the chain. As parents we want to set patterns and behaviors, lifestyles and habits that children need to become. Unfortunately, kids zero in on the negative. It’s the nature of them? It’s satan’s* dirty little tricks in life? It really doesn’t matter, it happens. Look at toddlers that have picked up cuss words … why one bad word when so many good ones are spoken? Or pinching, hitting, etc. The negative sticks out more? Whatever it is we have to focus on teaching them the positive. If a child emulates you, if they become you, hopefully it is all the positive and none of the negative. I know I had negative times I am not proud of that I hope my kids never become. Frustration, anger, hard times … they come out and those moments stick out in memories and outweigh the good sometimes.
So it is two fold … you work on making positive memories and they work on remembering only the positive when they are older. The scriptures says in Philippians 4:8 , “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
We guard their ears, eyes and minds from what the world throws at them through the various mediums, yet our own mouths sometimes does more damage. Ephesians 4: 29 “When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will do good to those who listen to you.” (NCV) You know yourself that in your memory the harsh words spoken stand out more. ALWAYS, go and undo what you say in anger or frustration … when you’re too tired, etc. Don’t let that apology and that ‘rebuilding’ go undone.
Passing on the bad from generation to generation will happen if someone does not make an effort to stop the chain. If you have alcoholics, liars … suicides, etc. Don’t pass it on … stop the cycle. It is not a heritage you want. When children are old enough to know about what was in their family’s history is when they are grounded in why it is wrong. I cannot tell you the number of young people I have counseled that say, “well what can I do, I’m just like … and you know I was always told they did ….”. Your kids do not need to know the details of your past until they are young adults (if ever). We had a youth pastor come through once that told of his wild and sinful days … laughingly … almost with … “yeah it was fun … but, then I had to settled down so I got saved.” This teaches that you can have your fun and repent later. No one has a ‘later’ promised to them.
You have no later … work on what needs changing today. Teach your children the positive part of you they need to become and forget the negative part of your own past that your parents were … forget and forgive. Decide today that you want to be the good part of that person and pass along only the good part of them and the good part of you.
Always go back to the Beatitudes … attitudes to be. Then you are passing on a heritage of being Christ like.
“I’m becoming ….the good part of…”
One of the trials of christian parenting is definatly grieving our sins as they are displayed in our children.
Seeing our sins laid bare…
If you stop in the midst of a dark period of your marriage to think – is this the kind of wife I want my daughter to become? Is this modelling her future expectations of marriage.
Sins cut deep.
I do praise God for the work he does in changing us, and breaking the chains of painful modelling – unhealthy patterns.
But I also think it is important to confess to our children. My kids are quite young, but I dont think it effects my authority at all to have shared with them my confession, my repentance and asked them for forgiveness.
Would you agree?
Through the many years I have worked with kids (k-college) and their parents, I have never found an instance where full disclosure has done good. Let’s say the parent started drinking or having sex in middle school … at that age the parent needs to make conscious effort to give their child the firm foundation of why it is wrong. Then after prayer for guidance for the Holy Spirit, and only then, would I recommend sharing an experience. If you share the experiences of your life, it should always be with the extreme emphasis of what it cost you in the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual realms. They should never want to ‘try it’ after you have explained things. They should never look at you and think, “well it turned out alright, so why not have a little fun? why not experiment?”. They will find out about your past eventually in most cases. I just urge extreme caution on when and how.