A question I often ask couples in pre-marital counseling is: “What did you see in your parents’ marriage that you want to do differently in your marriage?”
This question generates intentional conversation about the topic of legacy. The same question can apply with parenting, grand-parenting, and being an aunt or uncle: “What did your parents (or grandparents, or aunts and uncles) do that you want to keep, and what did they do that you want to change?”
In the Old Testament, a lot could change for the Jews from generation to generation. Some kings were downright awful and evil, but then sometimes the king from the next generation led the people back to God.. Legacies can change from one generation to the next, and God can use you to be that change for your family.
None of us had perfect parents, and we all have things we want to change about our family and parenting legacy. For some, it could be big things like, “I won’t abuse my children the way my parents abused me,” or, “Mom and Dad will stay together.” Those would be amazing legacy-changers for your family!
I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home with Godly parents. Nevertheless, there are still some things I am intentionally changing for the next round of Romigs. I’ll share one example: my family was not a physically affectionate family growing up. I want to change that, so I am intentional to give lots of hugs and kisses to make sure my kids can feel fatherly love from me. As we draw closer to the teenage years with our kids, Michelle and I will discuss more about how our parenting will look with them through that phase, intentionally repeating some of our parents’ actions, and intentionally changing others.
Other examples that I have heard:
- We will pray with our kids every night before bed.
- We will have family devotionals together.
- We will have family night once a week.
- I’ll be sure to tell my kids “I love you” every day.
- We will not raise our voices in our marriage conflicts.
- I’ll make sure to include my kids on home projects.
- I’ll write letters for my kids to read in their later years.
- I’ll teach my teens how to be responsible with (fill in the blank) rather than letting them learn on their own from their friends.
With God’s power, you can change the legacy of your family. You are not bound to repeat everything your parents did, but if you want to make changes, you must be intentional. How can you change your family legacy for the better?