There is a legacy of words that we pass on from generation to generation. I have found myself speaking words that I swore I would never say to my children; words that were given to me by my parents and, that were handed to them from their parents. It is a generational curse which we all need to break. I have given this some thought and I believe it is possible to break this curse and I am going to share several ideas which I hope will help you. I don’t think it matters how old your children are, it is never too late to turn it around and get it right.
Maybe we need to look at what needs to change before we start talking solutions. Let’s take a little test and don’t worry no one needs to see your answers. But, I am going to ask you to be honest about your answers though…with yourself and with God.
- Have you ever used words to negatively characterize your child?
- Have you ever negatively characterized your spouse in front of your child?
- Have you ever negatively characterized a person or race in front of your child?
- Have you ever told your child, “You are just like ___________?” And your child knows you do not like how ______________ acts?
- Have you ever said, “Do what I say not what I do?”
- Are you harder on your child when you are in a bad mood or tired?
- Do you lecture your child when you are trying to get a point across?
I am going to just lay it all out there for you; I know that, at least one time in the lives of both of my children, I have committed every one of these crimes. I would have to answer yes times 2. I also would have to say that each of these crimes were committed against me…which leads me to the first thing I believe we need to do to move forward and break this curse in our life.
- Forgive your parents. Forget the words or the times when they did not get the parenting right and move on. You need to let it go and forgive them. If you can’t forgive them…your children will not forgive you. We are all guilty in this generational curse, none are innocent.
- Tell your children you are sorry for the times when you got it wrong. Ask them to forgive you and be specific with them. Do not give a generalized apology to them, you are teaching them through this apology how to humble themselves to others and to God.
- Take all of this to God and ask for His forgiveness too. Ask Him to forgive you for harboring any unforgiveness against your parents inside of you and ask for His forgiveness for those times when you acted outside of His will toward your children.
Now that we have forgiven and asked for forgiveness, we need to make some changes, that stick…from the inside out. We need to transform our thinking and our hearts, and do our best to lead our children to God. Here are just a few tips to help us with our transformation, along with some Biblical truths.
- Accept your child for who he (she) is. Love them in all of their strengths and weaknesses…just as your Father in heaven loves you. Ephesians 2:4-5 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—“
- Always show respect to your spouse, especially in front of your children. Although males and females are equal in relationship to Christ, the Scriptures give specific roles to each in marriage. The husband is to assume leadership in the home (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:23). This leadership should not be dictatorial, condescending, or patronizing to the wife, but should be in accordance with the example of Christ leading the church. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word” (Ephesians 5:25-26). Christ loved the church (His people) with compassion, mercy, forgiveness, respect, and selflessness. In this same way husbands are to love their wives.
- Separate the behavior from the child. Show your children unconditional love, at all times. 1 John 3:1 “See what kind of love the Father has given to us that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”
- Put yourself in your children’s shoes. Picture yourself at that age while you are dealing with what they are going through. Be empathetic to their situation. Then use the knowledge that you have gained through age and wisdom to help them learn. “The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth— Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, …” Proverbs 1
- Set a Godly example. Be the parent who God created you to be and lead by example. Walk your talk and talk your walk. The eyes of your children are on you, at all times. They will do what you do and they will say what you say…at least until they decide you’re not longer cool enough to imitate. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
I thank You God for these words and for Your plan, which is working within my life right now. To You God I give all the honor and all the glory. I pray that these words touch the hearts of parents and make them think before they speak. I pray that it makes them taste, smell, touch, feel and see how their words and their actions can affect their children. May they only want to use them to point their children to You. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.