Last night Joel talked about generational iniquity, often referred to as generational curses. He talks about how scientists look for patterns in DNA that may indicate a gene for alcoholism, abuse, early mortality, and how he thinks that a large portion of patterns of iniquity in family lines are spiritual. All that aside, I am not arguing the case for science or for theologians, I am merely pleased with what he said afterwards.
Joel made a point to say, don't just accept certain behaviors because they have been present in your family for years. Identify the negative or harmful behavior and make a choice that it will stop with you. If every woman in your family has has babies out of wedlock, make a choice that it will stop with you. If alcoholism has been a very present disease in your family for generations and generations, make a choice that you will not allow it to attack you. One of my very dear loved ones knows that alcoholism is present in his family, and he made the decision that he will never -knowingly- allow alcohol to touch his lips, and has stuck to it.
So many people have a propensity for saying, "this is the way it's been so I won't expect anything else. This is the way it's been, so I won't question it. I will just let what is bound to happen happen."
Joel gave the example about a man whose wife would always cut off both ends of her ham before cooking it. He could never understand why his wife was always so wasteful with hams, so he finally asked her why she always cuts the ends off of the ham, and she said because her mom always cuts the ends off of the ham and her mom makes the best ham she'd ever tasted. The husbands asked his wife well, why does she cut them off, and the wife had no clue. The couple then called the wife's mother and the husband explained his curiosity for why his wife cuts off the ends of the ham. He further explained that his wife said it was because her mother always cut off the ends. He then asked his mother-in-law why she cuts off the ends of the ham, and she replied because her mom always cuts the ends off of the ham and her mom makes the best ham she'd ever tasted. The husband reinforced the why behind cutting off the ends, and the mother-in -law still had no answer. Finally the husband and wife, called the wife's grandmother. He explained, and inquired of the grandmother why she would always cut off the ends of the ham. The grandmother's reply was, "That's easy because my pan was always too small."
The moral is know why. Don't just do, or accept things because it's always been done. Don't make generational iniquities your excuse for not finishing school, for having children out of wedlock, for divorce, for alcoholism, for lung cancer, for abuse, for fear. Don't let the idea of slave mentality: the generational iniquity for many black Americans be the excuse we use to stay down; understand the pathology and change the course.
- Identify your issue(s): Just admit and deal with it.
- Realize that just because you are going through a hard time, that does not make you a bad person.
- Take responsibility for your own action. Don't let generational iniquities be be your excuse, or your source of blame.
Know that we cannot change the past but we can change the future by making the right choices today. When Joel said this, I laughed out loud because the creed by which I chose to live my life says, "I understand that today is yesterday's consequence, and if I want to change my tomorrow I have start with the decisions I make today." I wrote that in my journal five years ago. Also if you notice too, my blog from 02.22.05 was "Don't make excuses. Just do what's right."