I do not think I will ever understand how I reflect the dreams and nightmare of my parents. Even as I look at my own children awestruck at their ability to create, work, and think, I am confounded by their reflections of my weaknesses. If only they could have left those bits behind, if only I could have done something different as a parent. Maybe things could have been different. Now we are stuck with things for yet another generation!
Maybe you are different. It could be that you reflect all that is good from previous generations. There is always a chance! The harsh reality is that we carry much more of previous generations than we realize, and it is not just the obvious. Our body defenses towards disease have a baseline strongly influenced by our parents and those before them. Our approach to conflict is configured early because of our home experiences. Food, drink, and relationships all bear the marks of our forbearers. The reflection is there regardless of how much any one of the parties wants to deny the fact!
When I look at one generation that I admire I can see the links. Good friends have great kids for the same reasons; they carry compassion as if it is a natural part of their self, passionate embraces of life are the norm not the exception, and dialogue is present even when the conversations are painful. They are living examples of how “old people are distinguished by grandchildren; children take pride in their parents.” (Proverbs 17.6)
Do you realize that our parentage goes all the way back to God? The Divine formed our ultimate great-great-great parents in the image and form of God. Even though some of the line in between is resting in death God is still alive and engaged with his children. This means you and I are his kids, reflections of all that he is.
I do not always reflect the best. I often come short of God’s ideal. Today is a fresh opportunity to paint a new picture. Take it!