I think that one of life’s biggest successes is growing older as a family and have your children still speaking to you. I call it ‘building generationally’.
Putting ones life’s efforts into acquiring ‘success’ at the expense of everything else, is missing out on life’s true treasure.
Purpose is about more than being a superhero, it’s about being a Mr. Miyagi or an Obi Wan Kenobi. A hero’s journey centres on being the lifter of the next generation, which is where your life takes on a fresh and rewarding perspective. This is why you’ll find generations who have served to position the lives of people that have ‘made it’.
As leaders, we can look to the future for inspiration and undervalue what the past has to show us. We can miss the fact that there is a baton to be passed on to the next generation to elevate them. The generations have a job to do to support and encourage one another, no one is better or worse than its predecessor. Even though a particular generation might have control of the narrative (as they have control of the media) YOU have the power to tell YOUR story and DECIDE how it ends, regardless of your generation. If we have learned anything over the last few years, it’s that the news isn’t always the truth and that there are more sides to the story if you choose to be brave enough to seek truth out.
Ultimately, true wisdom is found in seeking knowledge and having the understanding to apply it. Wisdom is often lost on the young. As children growing up we have an independent streak – we don’t want to be controlled and this can work to own detriment. I was told, ‘Don’t touch the cigarette lighter in the car, because it’s hot!’ Guess what? They were right!
It’s good to have the right people around you from different generations to challenge your impulses and to get you to address your ‘why’.
Sadly, many generations have had to face the task of resetting the path of their predecessors because the harms and hurts they instigated are replaying. The long lasting effects of alcoholism and abuse for example, can frame the experience and outcomes of subsequent generations unless we learn and call time on the influence of the past.
Left unchecked, the pain will resurrect itself and reproduce more destructive behaviour. Like hereditary medical conditions, harmful traits and behaviours also pass down to subsequent generations.
If we don’t learn from the past, we end up repeating it. That is a stark warning. Gaslighting the next generation is not a strategy, it is lying with zero care for their future.
As I am writing this, the nation is gripped in a frenzy with Prince Harry’s book, ‘Spare’ and the scandal and mystique of the royal family. The news interviews, press, and promotion leave people divided (probably part of the media’s salacious intent) but in all of it there is a message that is getting lost in translation. Harry is looking to reset and remove the baggage and redefine a generation. He also wants to make a change to affect the family line, and free it from the media influence that created all those dark places that Harry has had to navigate.
Speaking from a family that has had its fair share of alcoholics, (I’m talking about my own now) I think mine might be the generation that learns to reset family behaviour and just do without the sauce. For the record, I stopped drinking in November 2002, and although I had only intended to do so for a season, it became a lifestyle. Why? I realised that it would break generations of abuse, destruction and death. So, while I can drink if I choose, I choose not to as it’s a generation breaker. My kids don’t see alcohol as an option or a priority. They will have to make their own choices when they get older, but they know that life without alcohol can be lived to the full and they don’t buy the line that a party is not a party without it.
Today, Gen Z are showing that a life of excess and escape isn’t what they want. Social media has played its part, (who would want their bad behaviour broadcast to the world) but a current generation of youth have had their lives directly affected by the mistakes associated with inebriation. Affairs, betting, debt, prison, the list goes on… a moment of madness creating a lifetime of struggle for the next generation. Short term pleasure, long term pain.
So, in terms of purpose, you have to make a generational stand. Anyone look back at their family history will see at least one person making a stand for change. When someone does so, other people will follow!
My grandfather was a WWII hero and my father followed his example, wading into difficult circumstances to help addicts get free. I followed my Dad’s example by choosing purpose and inspiring others to do the same. I hope that the generation following me will have more confidence as a result. My desire for them is that they won’t just go with the flow!
Building generationally is about learning from the past, being free to live in the present and plotting a future that is helpful and hopeful for the next generation.
That might mean switching the news off to kick fear out of the house. It might mean switching to 0.0% beer or even picking up a sport when the previous generations of family didn’t bother.
We took our children out of the school system and we found that educating them at home has helped them to grow into leaders. It has cost us, and it has stretched us, but what it has given us is priceless. We believed that we HAD to do it. Your reset might not have to be so radical, but we all have our own journey.
What thing do you have to reset or change? What might you need to sacrifice now to trade against long term benefit for the next generation? Sometimes, deep down in our hearts, we already know. We might have to leave a toxic environment, or break a habit. We might need to address certain behaviours and open the door to positivity.
Purpose is fulfilled when you remove distraction and put a plan into action. The steps we take will then redefine our name.
Our surname carries a reputation and it seems to me that Prince Harry is trying to reset the reputation associated with his family name, albeit in a rather messy way. Only time will tell if his approach was the right one. Who knows, maybe he will stumble across this blog and pick up some tips on breaking generational behaviour!
How to be an agent of change:
- Focus on what you stand for rather than against.
- Choose positivity rather than swimming in negativity.
- Choose to be a victor not a victim.
- Make the most of what is in your hand.
- Use your talent, gifting and ability to make the world a better place. Work on your character in private.
- Learn to be faithful.
True purpose will require a lot of you and that is a price I am willing to pay. Are you?
At Cre8ion, we have many tools to help you double down on embracing purpose. You can transform your narrative with the HeartSet course. It unlocks the secrets you are carrying within to help you to live a life on purpose, for purpose. Enrol today and take the first step to reset a generation.