We Are Not Our Parents

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

The acorn didn’t fall far from the tree. He’s a chip off the old block. She’s just like her mother…

Comments like these are often heard whether to describe someone in a positive light, or negative. Both indicate the child is like the parent. In some ways, I guess that’s true. In others, I would suggest it is not the case. While we may share genetics and outward appearance similarities, that doesn’t mean we are carbon copies.

A friend of mine struggles with alcoholism and the ramifications of its affect on her children, as reflected in their behavior and bad choices.

One friend fears getting married because her parents divorced, and she falsely believes she’d be doomed to the same fate.

Another friend can’t understand where she went wrong in raising her son.

Look around. There are examples everywhere of children who are like their parents, whether for the good, or the bad. There are also examples of children who are not like their parents, whether for the good, or the bad. My observations have shown me it is all a matter of choice.

I have friends who have over three generations of alcoholism in their lineage. Yet, they are not alcoholics. Why? Because they saw the destruction, knew they had a predisposition for addictive behaviors, and refused to fall victim to its power.

I know people whose parents divorced, yet were able to sustain long, loving marriages until their deaths. Why? Because they were not their parents.

We might recall the story of Joseph. Favored son born of favored wife. Sold into slavery by his brothers. Interpreter of dreams. Falsely accused. Rose to rule second in command in Egypt. Forgives.

Although Joseph was well-loved and favored by his father, Jacob, his family was terribly dysfunctional. Boy, howdy, were they ever. You think your family has issues? Go read Genesis 27 to the end of the book.

Joseph was not his father, his mother, his brothers, or his uncle, Laban. Joseph was God’s man. A tool God used to accomplish his plan. Joseph broke the chain of dysfunction in his family. We can, too.

We are not our parents. Just as our children are not us. We are each individuals with free will to make intelligent decisions. We can break free from the chains that bind us. Make our own good choices based on instruction we find in the Bible. We can decide differently. We can be the ones who end the destructive cycles that have gone before us.

It’s up to us.

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But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid; I can’t put myself in the place of God. You plotted evil against me, but God turned it into good, in order to preserve the lives of many people who are alive today because of what happened. Genesis 50:19-20 (GNT)

I wish you well.


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2 thoughts on “We Are Not Our Parents

  1. This was an excellent commentary – the comparisons were great. I appreciate Sandy’s time and research that’s shown in every blog. Thank you Sandy!


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