What Generational Thinking Looks Like

It used to be that families would have a business that was passed down to each succeeding generation. This created family security and assurance that the values, traditions, work ethic and principles of the family were passed to each generation. What worked for one generation worked for each generation but with new knowledge and tools being brought to the table by each generation.

Since WWII this type of thinking and living has for the most part been lost as each generation became less intentional in parenting, adopting the “new” parenting philosophies. These new ideas of parenting focused all the attention on the children allowing them to determine their own way in life with little direct training. So little by little family businesses began to go by the wayside as has cohesive family life.

G2g.Org [Generation to generation] is focused on creating a renewed interest in generational thinking and planning. This is a key to turning our ship of state around. This is no easy task because of 1) parenting is not easy, 2) the fatigue factor of single parent and/or two parent working families, 3) the advent of television to babysit/disciple the children and 4) the use of all our mobile devises that discourages real communication.

The two least attended classes offered at churches are marriage enrichment classes and parenting classes. This is a sad state of affairs for marriages in general and children in particular. God intended that the generations be honored and respected with each generation teaching and training the next generation in the Bible, personal salvation, character development and work ethic. In other words intentionally preparing the next generation for leadership and good citizenship.

Week before last I had the opportunity to travel to the San Francisco Bay area for four days. It was a wonderfully relaxing trip but the highlight of the trip was the evening we spent at Wente Wineries in Livermore, CA with our adopted California daughter who works there.

As we were visiting in the tasting room before our dinner, one of the employees gave us the history of the winery. Wente is the oldest winery in California (probably the whole nation) with five generations taking the helm as the previous generation retired. It was fascinating to me to see how each generation took over and improved the grapes, the wine and the whole operation with the advancements of the time they lived.

In fact it moved me to tears. I had to ask how they did it because in this day and age it is unusual for that type of generational thinking to be embraced. Obviously, the children were raised to love the land, the grapes and the wine making process. But it is hard to pass on that kind of passion.

One thing they do is mandate that after their education they spend two years working someplace else before taking their place at the winery. They also work in every area as part of their training. This is how they were able to discover their passion for the agriculture part, the production part, the hospitality/event planning, or the marketing side of the business.

God’s design for families is that we take what we have and faithfully train and teach our children to love God and serve Him in all they do. As they marry and have children they take what their parents taught them and add to it as they receive revelation from God and as their knowledge grew. Thus they would actually build on the family legacy of faith, tradition, work ethic and citizenship (personal responsibility). The bottom line is that each generation should be better off than their parents.

Today, I would like to challenge you to make a commitment to leave a legacy that can be built upon by your children and grand-children. When they learn the value of family character, work ethic etc. then accepting the responsibility to carry these qualities into every area of their lives will be fully embraced. It is not easy and doesn’t happen haphazardly. It takes a family vision and then intentionally and consistently following through on the plan.

What is your family vision?