How to Build Generational Families

My grandparents, Woody and Virginia Norris were married for over 64 years. They both saw World War II, the invention of the television, a man walking on the moon, the civil rights movement, computers being created, wireless phones, and later cell phones. These are some of the things they saw happen around them, and through it all, they endured.

One day I wanted to visit them, so I went to their house. They were married at this time for about sixty years. Uninvited, I walked through the garage into the kitchen, and what I saw I will never forget.

They both were sitting at the kitchen table eating ice cream and staring at each other while listening to Nate King Cole. It was turned up loud and they were just looking at each other enjoying the moment. This inspired me because I thought, this is what I wanted when I’m married for over sixty years.

For me, their longevity in marriage, while staying in love, is the greatest gift they gave our family.

Far beyond an heirloom, and an inheritance, their enduring love gave us a picture of what we could have, and they showed us how to have generational families.

Isn’t this what we want?

Of course, it is. The dream for our families is that our marriages endure and that the next generation moves forward and does better than we did. There’s something about thinking generationally that empowers us to live in the moment and make moments count. It’s living in a way that thinks beyond ourselves and sets things up for who is coming behind us.

But we didn’t originate this, God did. He wants our families to be generational, and he wants our marriages to endure and be a love story that echoes forward. This is how Isaiah said it,

“And this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit will not leave them, and neither will these words I have given you. They will be on your lips and on the lips of your children and your children’s children forever. I, the Lord, have spoken!”

Isaiah‬ ‭59:21‬

Notice in this verse, God promises to put his spirit on the lips of four generations. His intent is to bless one generation to model and lead the next generation into greater things.

The oddity of seeing one generation blessed and the next one crumble is not the plan of God. He wants generational families that see his goodness, favor, grace, and empowerment to get stronger as the generations move forward.

So how do we have a generational family?

First, choose unity.

This means no matter what, we value family more than we value winning an argument. This is big. Too many families split apart because they’re focusing on who is right versus getting it right.

This doesn’t mean someone isn’t right and that someone is wrong. That happens. However, it means that the greater goal is to be unified and build on trust, love, and honesty through Jesus.

If families can stay in unity, they can get through anything. If they split apart, they’ll fall for anything. However, choosing unity is intentional, and it must be protected.

Second, share what you know.

When someone older, shares what they know with someone younger, that knowledge will increase incrementally. This is how we leave a legacy.

When families willingly share what they know with the next generation, it’s not just about knowledge, it’s about a heart connection that empowers someone else to flourish. This is about giving tools with a bonding relationship that will last beyond a lifetime.

However, too many times this does not happen. Somehow, people think if they share their knowledge, they’ll lose it and someone will do better than them. But this is the wrong focus. We want the next generation to do better, and when we share it, our knowledge multiplies. Hoarding something is how we lose it. Sharing something is how we multiply it.

Generational families are those that are sharing what they know to empower them and what matters most. This is why we must make moments count and have heart connections that are glued together by love.

Third, have fun together.

There is something about having fun together that never goes away. Laughter does good like medicine (see Proverbs 17:22), and having fun gives moments that families need.

When families have fun together, they are bonding through fun moments, great moments, and funny moments. All of this is reflecting an open heart and meaningful time together that builds the family bond. When this happens, the next generation carries that on and repeats it moving forward. This is a major way that generational families flourish. We must have fun.

It’s my belief that God enjoys it when we laugh and have fun. God is a good God, and he enjoys us enjoying him and each other. Too many times, families are disconnected, don’t have fun together, and don’t make memories. When this happens, there is a vulnerability to make memories with the wrong people and get caught up in things that hurt our lives and those around us. Our families are longing to have fun together, so we as leaders must set the tone and furthermore, set it up for it to happen.

Your family can be generational!

Don’t settle for a short-term vision. Set your eyes on more, and live in a way that speaks beyond your lifetime.

Think bigger. Plan bigger. Love bigger. Give bigger.

Be a generational family!

God has great things for you and the best is yet to come,

PD

Pastor David Norris

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