Weekly Column

Break the Cycle, Start a Cycle

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Posted By christyadams008

My grandmother was a twin. She shared many eerie experiences of “just knowing” something was wrong with her sister, then showing up at the exact moment her sister was in pain or injured. Their appearance and mannerisms were similar, too, and as a small child, I often got them confused.

A friend of mine was adopted. As an adult, he searched for his biological father. When he showed us a picture, the resemblance was uncanny—even down to the style of glasses, buttoned shirt, and pocket protector filled with pens.

Genetics are often a strong force. Expressions. Predispositions. Mannerisms. The list goes on and on. Certain traits are deeply ingrained into our DNA.

But then comes the nature versus nurture debate. Which is more powerful? Which one impacts and dictates the course of our lives?

The family and home we are raised in makes a huge impact on us—both positively and negatively. Many of our habits, attitudes, patterns, and practices either resulted from imitating our families or fleeing in the opposite direction. I can look at my own life and see many aspects which line up with the way my family raised me. I’m grateful for a good home and family who taught me to live well.

This isn’t always the case though. The older I get, the more I recognize I’m in the minority. Most families have strings of dysfunction and cords of hurt woven throughout their lineage. Abuse, neglect, anger, bitterness, addiction, and discord are examples of the pain these families induce.

Even in “healthier” families, there are traits, habits, and practices that don’t need to be continued; simple, accepted parts that have always been there. Fear, overeating, pride, and nonconfrontation are just a few. If all of us take a moment and examine our lives closely, I’m sure we’ll find parts of our rearing that we don’t wish to pass on. And maybe it wasn’t something we learned from our families, but instead, areas we have adopted as adults.

Take some time to look at the goods and bads of your family this week. Think about the way you plan to raise, are raising, or have raised your kids. What patterns need to be broken? Which areas need to be fostered and encouraged? Maybe it’s time to break a cycle. Or maybe it’s time to start a new one. It’s all up to you.

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