I was afforded the opportunity to represent a teenage boy last week who needed an advocate for a situation he was in. While I won’t go into any details of his situation because of confidentiality, I can say that he is very normal in that his problems didn’t start the day before he hired a lawyer.
At the hearing, the young man, his mother and his grandmother all showed up. We went through the process and then spent some time talking afterwards, with my desire being that the young man would be more able to connect his head to his heart through understanding some of the junk that has happened in his life and how it drives some of the reactions he seems to go back to time after time. Instead of telling him to simply “be good” and “try harder,” I wanted to help him know that he’s not weird or different but simply been responding out of hurts and fears that come out in some unhealthy ways.
The interesting thing is that there were elements of three generations of that family standing there and as I was talking to that teenage boy, the mother and the grandmother started to identify with what we were saying and put pieces of their own puzzle into place. They said things like, “that’s what happened with me, too, when . . . ” and “he gets it honest, that’s how I am too.”
From one generation to the next, the particular patterns of hurts, fears and bad choices are made through a distorted lens from the lies that come out of those negative things. The assumption is often that patterns of things such as anger, broken relationships, addictions, etc. is like a train out of control, just a pre-destined curse from parent to child through DNA or some genetic mandate. While it’s true that if left unchecked, the pattern will likely continue, there can be a choice to stop the train and take it off of the tracks so that the next generation doesn’t fight that particular battle.
My grandparents had a lot of problems which my parents took off of the track for me and my kids. There were still traces of some of the struggles in our family story, but the battle was largely waged through a choice by my parents to not expose my sister and I to the things they was exposed to. Tragedy was replaced by Hope. The depths of darkness began to give way to the Light, even if apparently faint at first. The new tracks were laid for that pattern to shift courses so that my children have an easier time not having to battle those things. The blessings build with each generation, distancing the family from the continuum of curses but it takes a first generation of courage to say, “enough!”