There’s a bible verse that has been used by many to illustrate the importance of creating an intentional environment for fostering children’s hearts and minds and the bonds of the family. To paraphrase, “the sins of the father effect several generations”.
This concept also reveals to us just how difficult and rare a thing it is, for a parent to summon the courage and the perseverance required, to shift their mentality away from their own limited experience and away from the inertia of society in general, towards one that is more truth based, open and life affirming. Whether the change be motivated for ideological reasons or inspired only out of love and truth alone, the task requires both mother and father if it has any chance of being successful.
Today, both the father and the mother have a duty to set the mark and the vision for their family. Traditionally the responsibility of setting the tone for the family rested more firmly on the mans shoulders, but with the enlightened equalization of genders, the team approach is thankfully becoming the norm. This responsibility is not a light one and can truly be one of the most challenging things we adults ever face.
Assuming that we can elevate the vision of our family and foster a loving environment for our own children that allows them the tether they need to know, accept and love themselves, requires a very high level of personal diligence and responsibility on the parents part first and foremost!
Parroting the phrase, “I won’t be like my parents”, doesn’t cut it, and in fact, if that is where the effort is left, it is assured that ones stead as a parent will be but a replay of their own experience with their parents. Deferring ones responsibility to the whims of societal thought or to ones spouse, is choosing not to choose and is by definition irresponsible, as it relates to one of the most important roles we assume in life.
The common myth that my daughter or son will understand me once they grow up and experience life, is only a way to cope with ones lack of effort and places the self of the parent above that of the child and their struggles. The child needs to be understood, not the parent! Waiting for ones kid to “get it”, only means that one assumes that their child too will succumb to the contrived demands of society, as they themselves have acquiesced.
Being vulnerable enough to let ones children “see” them, may seem weak and risky to ones authority over their children, but I can assure you, your influence is minimal if you cannot, and gifts both the parent and child endlessly if one can but find the courage to do so!