Friday, March 6, 2009

The Sins of the Fathers(Generational Crap)

A famous Greek had a quote that was borrowed from the Old Testament that I believe has a profound truth in it. Though it may not have been written with this idea initially.

"The gods visit the sins of the fathers upon the children."
Euripides, Phrixus
Greek tragic dramatist (484 BC - 406 BC)

Now we all are aware that passed down from generation to generation is the genetic makeup of our families. Blue/Brown eyes, Blond/Red hair, Tall/short etc. But more importantly, passed down, is the emotional baggage that we as humans fail to deal with. These lingering hurts, resentments, and remorse are the "Sins" that end up haunting our children. Now it is true that we cannot shield our children from all the pains in life, but we do have a huge impact on what we give them. Im sure that we have all had that "Eureka" moment while watching or listening to our children do something and realize exactly where it comes from. Not only is it their behaviours or postures, but many times it is exactly the fears and pains that we have not come to grips with. Failure to deal with our own pain guarantees that our children will experience not only their own traumas, but ours as well. If we truly want the best for our children then doesnt that automatically mean we need to do the best for ourselves? So does it not behoove us to deal with our own "baggage" first and then help our children with theirs? My challenge to all of us is this. Break the chain, BE WELL.


Redlefty said...

Amen, dude.

You're all over what I'll be preaching about in two weeks at our church. First sermon. A little freaked.

Our impact on the people around us is so much better when we've worked on ourselves first.

mac said...

"A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD. " - Deuteronomy 23:2

Sins of the father indeed .

Anonymous said...

Timely reflection . . .

Just tonight, I sat in my van, fuming that my son was taking so long to say goodbye to his girlfriend, the thought hit me . . .

"When did I become my dad?!"

Anonymous said...

Can't agree more. Just this very weekend Karmen is up volunteering in Kansas City at a weekend conference that we have both attended and completed that deals with this very topic. She now donates about 4 weekends each year, sometimes more, helping people with this very thing. You cannot get past what you do not acknowledge. It is such a better way to live to be honest with yourself and in your relationships, especially with family and close friends.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's true.

It is difficult to get it right though. I was a child of pushy parents and it took me a long time to get over that and live for myself. But I think I swing too far the other way with my own children, ever conscious that I don't want to be like my own parents and am too laidback and relaxed with them.

Luke said...

there are scientific studies out saying how children of alcholic, abusive, or whatever trauma if the cycle isn't broken.

crazy what people will do. ever crazier is what they do and all the while they're unaware of doing it. crazy world.


Anonymous said...

"But more importantly, passed down, is the emotional baggage that we as humans fail to deal with." (John)

This is all very very very much as some of it isn't 'sin' but actual 'pain' - it does lead one into very questionable Luke pointed out - alcholism and drugs being the prime culprits.

Right now, in my personal life, my wife and I are dealing with her mother and some of the weirdest problems I have ever seen - and it made me realize what my wife has had to endure for many years (which is basically emotional and neglect type abuse).

My wife has become a product of those conditions of her mother - not knowing that she is. Now some things were good - but some things are based in faulty assumptions and hurts from the past. These things this woman has to face up to so she will not carry them to her own kids...and she is.

I had this in my own life also - problems with both my mother and father...issues going back to childhood. I realize what happened there still effected me years later - those pains and hurts find their beginning there (many years ago). While I was formulating who I would be as a young teen - these things really messed me over (didn't know what to do - I went from worthless to wild).

But as i grew up - I realized what John is talking about in this post - those 'errors of the past generation' do not need to be my thorn filled path - they were not my mistakes nor do I know the hurts that caused these behaviors in my parents...mercy and forgiveness won out in the end.

But I realize when I have kids - I am next to be judged by my children and I want to make damn sure I deal honestly with my problems so I am not putting some baggage on my own kids (a curse if you will).

Tit for Tat said...

as much as some of it isn't 'sin' but actual 'pain'(Society)

The concept I am trying to show is that it becomes "sin" when we become aware of our "pain" but dont alter our behaviours. I think this is the greater truth behind some of these religious ideas.

Anonymous said...

Just curious since you quote Torah. The word translated in English, bastard, what is this word in Hebrew and to whom does it refer?

Hi John,
Well, I took a month away and enjoyed the breather, but what the hell....

Tit for Tat said...


Hello you, I was just thinking about emailing you. I will do it anyways ;)

Anonymous said...

I believe we wake up everyday with choices of who we want to be that day; happy/sad, strong/frail, forgiving/resentful, caring/hurtful. Life isn't always easy, we got that. We have to take accountability of our actions and emotions. I've had my share of parental disappointments but I choose to forgive and love.

Anonymous said...

oops forgot to sign my name.

I'm Christine. One of John's best friends. love ya