For good and for bad, the way we speak, act, and behave gets transferred from one generation to the next. Studies show that 60% of the learning that affects people’s behavior is based upon watching someone they know and trust.”
For example, a study by the American Psychological Association found, “A child's exposure to the father abusing the mother is the strongest risk factor for transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next.”
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry further states that children of heavy drinkers are four times more likely to become alcoholics than other children. Michael Windle, Rollins Professor and chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education at Emory University, states, “There is little question that parental behaviors influence adolescent alcohol use.”
Of course, it is not just negative traits that can be passed on. Children who see parents model caring, love, respect, generosity, self-control, integrity, and faith in Christ are much more likely to exhibit those traits in their own lives.
A friend of mine has three daughters. The younger two are married while the oldest is still single. At the wedding of the middle daughter, this oldest daughter was asked why she hadn’t married yet. Her answer was simple yet profound, “I have seen how amazingly my grandfather treats my grandmother and how my father treats my mother. I have high standards.”
Each of the above examples emphasizes a crucial point. Life is about far more than just right now. Imagine your life as an iceberg. We know that the portion of the iceberg that we can see above the water is only a very small part. Only as much as ten percent of an iceberg is visible above the water. The other ninety percent lays below the surface unseen.
Our lives are very similar. This small portion of life here on earth is just a tiny portion of our lives. The rest we cannot yet see. For the Christ-follower, however, it promises to be beyond compare!
The Bible says, that is what the Scriptures mean when they say, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him." (1 Corinthians 2:9)
There is far more to life than the present. As a pastor, I have officiated many funerals. At each one, I am reminded that this world and everything in it will fade away. One by one, all of us will take our turn inside a casket.
At this point, you might be saying to yourself, “Come on Mark, you’re bringing me down! All this death talk is morbid.” Talking about death is not morbid. In fact, it is healthy to face reality and not live in denial. Besides, for the Christian, death is certainly nothing to fear.
I remember getting the news that a member of my church was in the hospital near death. As I was driving to see this person, do you know what emotion I felt? It wasn’t sadness at this dear saint about to pass from one life to the next. It wasn’t anger, wondering why God would do such a thing.
The emotion I felt was jealousy. I honestly had a twinge of jealousy run through me as I thought about that sweet woman leaving this earth and entering into Heaven. Frankly, I can’t wait for that day.
The day I die is the day I get to leave this tent for the home that God has prepared for me. Hebrews 13:14 states, this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our city in heaven, which is yet to come.
You do not have an expiration date, so live your life in preparation for that eternity. Refocus your priorities to that eternity. Get your eyes off the tip of the iceberg and begin mining the vastness of what lies below the surface.
As you do so, you will begin to truly grab hold of what you were created for.