Your Generational Line
When you look back at your generational line do you find that there are certain things that many of your family members have in common? Of course there are common physical features: skin tone, the size and shape of the nose, height and weight, etc.
You may also readily recognize similar health issues within the family: a long-standing history of breast cancer, heart problems, mental illness and on and on. It is now widely accepted that there is a genetic predisposition to addiction which means that some people are more likely to become addicted to drugs and alcohol and pornography than other people.
Other commonalities within the family are not as obvious because we don’t think of them as qualities that pass down from generation to generation. When digging into your family tree, you may discover that there is a history of unemployment, divorce, having children out of wedlock or adultery. Children, through parental role modeling, learn some of this behavior. What society defines as unacceptable behavior may be the norm within a family.
For instance, some family members may proclaim, with an air of pride:
- “Like father, like son.”
- “That’s just the way it is. It runs in the family.”
- “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
You’ve probably heard these common sayings. However, there is often a deep sense of shame and hopelessness lingering beneath a verbose confidence that, “It is what it is and nothing’s going to change it.”
Sometimes people make conscious decisions to do things differently than their parents, only to find themselves unexplainably drawn back into the lifestyle they are trying to avoid. It may even be that we keep our family skeletons in the closet in our generation. But sometimes, despite our best efforts, our children repeat the mistakes of their grandparents and it seems that our family line is once again tainted.