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What Happened to Multi-Generational Families? | Legacy Stone

What Happened to Multi-Generational Families? | Legacy Stone

What Happened to Multi-Generational Families? 

 

A basic understanding of multi-generational just is that multiple generations of a family have existed. However, existence is the bare minimum. It does not mean that wealth, stories, values, or other traits have continued on. So what has happened that causes families to struggle to remain strong for generations?

Understanding the Historical Context of Families

In previous generations, by necessity, family units had to operate with a strong sense of interdependence, where each member played a crucial role in contributing to the well-being and survival of the entire family. From tending crops and livestock to managing household chores, the collaboration between older and younger family members was essential. In agricultural and pre-industrial societies, it was a natural transition for the next generation to take on the farm or the business. 

By default, closeness was required to share resources and responsibilities, and to teach the next generation essential skills, traditions, and values. This collaborative approach helped ensure the family's sustenance, protection, and overall prosperity. The benefit of this mutual support system is that in addition to practical needs, it also contributed to the nurturing of strong bonds, shared values, and a collective identity that transcended individual achievements.

So What Changed for Families?

With this historical context, the point is not to mourn for “the good ol’ days”, but rather we need to understand what has shifted for families. Previously where interdependence was by necessity, now it is more by choice when it comes to families. We don’t need the same type of support systems for basic survival now, and this has allowed for individualism to flourish.

The important thing to note here is that it is not inherently bad that our systems and society have changed. The challenge for our families today though is now that we have a choice, what do we do with that? And therein lies much of the struggle we see today for families who want to be multi-generational.

We don’t have the guidance or tools that were built in by default to previous generations, so it is difficult to be intentional or sometimes simply to know where to start. We tend to operate with the mentality to give our children wings to soar on to greater things, but we miss the need to give them roots as well. It’s a balance to preserve what matters.

Why does multi-generational family matter?

By understanding these generational shifts, the picture is clearer of why it is challenging to set a path for generations. So why does it matter for a family to be multi-generational?

It is not about being a dynasty or just glorifying a family name. The larger picture is that it has always been part of God’s original plan for generations to be one of His tools of redemption. Think about it. When a family thrives and passes on its values to the next generation, you have a whole next set of people living out the gospel, passing on that message, and creating good in the world. Take one look at a family tree and you can start to visualize how that effect can multiply.

Finding success as a family

In general, even in past historical context, the primary reason we fail is when we don’t pass on what matters. While that can sound ominous, consider the opposite and how that could inspire your family– what would thriving look like for generations of your family? What would you want your family to still be doing 5 generations from now?

The time is now to start dreaming together. Re-engage around the things that matter most.

If you are looking for where to start, Legacy Stone is here to support. Learn more about how we can equip your family here.

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