A little over a month ago I posted a blog entry detailing the struggles in my relationship with my Dad. Many friends, relatives and peers have contacted me via phone and e-mail to let me know how much they appreciated what I had written. As a result, I have been through much prayer and introspection in the last five weeks, wondering what life may hold for me when I become a father.
Thankfully, I have an incredibly loving wife with whom I can raise a child. I can already tell she is going to be a great Mom! All of her life she has had a terrific relationship with her Mom and Dad, who are still married today after almost 40 years! My mother in-law has been a great example on how to make a happy home. I can honestly say that my wife is successfully applying those techniques.
Unfortunately, I did not have a good example of what it was like to live in a harmonious environment. My Mom and Dad divorced when I was only three years old. Since Dad moved to California shortly thereafter, I did not have much of a relationship with him in my formative years.
When I began to date in college, I found myself almost completely incapable of maintaining a cordial relationship with a woman. It may have started out nice, as it usually does in the wooing stage. However, I would feel myself becoming cynical and impatient after a few weeks. It was a proverbial Dr Jekyll turning into Mr. Hyde. It also didn’t help that I inherited Dad and Grandpa’s hair-trigger bad temper. Needless to say, the breakups with girlfriends were less than civil. I was even engaged to be married after I graduated college in 1992. That lasted all of five months.
At that point, I just accepted as my lot in life that I, like my Dad, had an inherent inability to maintain a good relationship with a woman.
Thankfully on July 11, 1998 I met the woman who made me want to be a better person, the woman I would one day marry. Jennifer & I have been married now for 5 ½ glorious years! Now we are thinking seriously about starting a family. Obviously, my family history weighs on my mind in how effective I will be as a Dad. This is the very thing which I have been strenuously praying over.
What I can tell you is recently I heard an encouraging word from God. No, it was not His actual audible voice. God can speak to one through many venues.
Within the past week I began reading a fantastic book entitled “Your Best Life Now”, by Joel Osteen. What really impacted me was the following passage contained in Chapter 4, a chapter entitled “Breaking the Barriers of the Past.”
Maybe you are living with the things that have been in your family line for two or three or more generations. Alcoholism, drug addiction, poverty, depression, anger, low self-esteem, whatever the problem, the good news is that you have an opportunity to break the negative cycle. You can choose to rise up and say, “With God’s help, I’m turning the tide. I’m trusting God and taking responsibility for my own actions. I’m setting a new standard.”
I had read that excerpt before I went to bed Thursday evening. Combine that with the song I heard the very next morning on my clock radio as the alarm sounded. I awoke to Sara Groves’ song “Generations.”
Remind me of this with every decision.
Generations will reap what I sow.
I can pass on a curse or a blessing to those I will never know.
I have indeed decided to set a new standard.
The well-being of my future generations depends on it.