- (Photo: The Firstborn Son)
How often have you gone seeking assistance from health and psychological professionals about your troubled youth, dysfunctional family and heard the solution to your problem rests in your implementation of a "Successful Family Legacy?" Yes, I know the answer is "never!" No professional has ever said those words to you. Culturally, it is a deeply foreign concept. However, the truth is a successful family legacy is the answer.
Unwarranted Societal Complications
Read this expert definition by the Mayo Clinic for the term "Oppositional Defiant Disorder:"
"Even the best-behaved children can be difficult and challenging at times. But if your child or teen has a persistent pattern of tantrums, arguing, and angry or disruptive behavior toward you and other authority figures, he or she may have oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)."
Does it not describe a regular disobedient child requiring structure?
Evidently our culture communally refuses to take healthy responsibility for our negligent behavior, but blame circumstances beyond personal control. Therefore we have effectively "medicated" rather than healthily engaged issues such as relationship advice, dysfunctional family, and other similar concerns. The Mayo Clinic's causes and treatment for ODD are:
There's no known clear cause of oppositional defiant disorder. Contributing causes may be a combination of inherited and environmental factors, including...
Treatment and Drugs
...However, medications alone generally aren't used for ODD unless another disorder co-exists. The cornerstones of treatment for ODD usually include:
• Individual and family therapy
Lifestyle and Home Remedies are highly recommended.
Our culture does not have a medical epidemic. We sadly have a society which has severely lost its order of priority as it pertains to healthy family, and the multi-generational development of children who will one day be responsible adults. Correctively, we must realign our priorities by changing the family dialog to emphasize the components of successful family legacy. It will serve us all well regarding symptoms of ODD, relationship advice, or dysfunctional family.
The Current Landscape
HELPGUIDE.ORG in its discussion of "Normal Teen vs. Troubled Teen Behavior" had this to offer: "...Your sweet, obedient child who once couldn't bear to be separated from you now won't be seen within 20 yards of you, and greets everything you say with a roll of the eyes or the slam of a door. These, unfortunately, are the actions of a normal teenager."
Normal Teen Behavior: Changing appearance... That may mean wearing provocative or attention-seeking clothing or dyeing hair...
Warning Signs of Troubled Teen: ... problems at school or other negative changes in behavior, or if there's evidence of cutting and self-harm...
Normal Teen Behavior: Experimenting with alcohol or drugs. Most teens will try alcohol and smoke a cigarette ... even try marijuana
Warning Signs of Troubled Teen: When alcohol or drug use becomes habitual, ... it may indicate a substance abuse issue or other underlying problems.
Parents, the "normal" expert descriptions above are critical limits (indicators) in the behavior of your child. The "warning signs" are destructive and often by far an addictive condition in the behavior of the child. Folks the bar is set far too low and might as well be buried. Unfortunately these philosophies and attitudes govern the majority of our schools, therapists, and even churches. Are the culture's criminally egregious statistical record on the family and child behaviors a surprise?
The popular Dr. Phil McGraw comments, "Negative events that happened at ages 2, 3, or 4 help to shape children's personalities. By the time these toddlers become teenagers, they've been living with the resulting pain for most of their lives." He goes on to say, "This is all the more reason that you must be a positive, reliable person in your child's life... Even though they're often reluctant to admit it, they seek approval, love, and a "soft place to fall" in their parents." Parents, are you implementing a successful family legacy? It will intrinsically address your family concerns.
The Indisputable Answer is Successful Family Legacy
Refreshingly the experts also comment, "...there are many things you can do at home to help your teen and improve the relationship between you. And you don't need to wait for a diagnosis to start putting them into practice." The comment effectively references the innate and natural power of a purposeful family legacy. Our culture inappropriately utilizes the biological and scientific information or advancement garnered as a civilization to our detriment. We justify our flaws, rather than provide an unyielding case for effectively implementing successful family legacy as needed.
Are you wondering what is successful family legacy?
Begin with this thought; we are going to leave a legacy for our dependents by design or default. When dead, we will be remembered for something; good, exceptional, horrific, or non-existent. Maybe we will be remembered for a combination of several of those characteristics. Our friends will likely forget the essence of who we were in a few short years following our death. But we forever leave an imprint on our family regardless of being absent or present. In the absence of a father it is a wound we carry perpetually. In many cases that wound remains an unbreakable cycle of bondage upon the family for many generations to come. Our culture bears the significant imprint of the fatherless generations.
A successful family legacy is the process of utilizing the healthy societal, emotional, and religious (sacred) attributes purposefully handed down to us by our parents (ancestors) to live currently in a manner above reproach. It also involves living an exemplary life that allows our dependents a similar or enhanced success for generations to come. Better yet, even without having one handed to us by our parents and ancestors, with God's instruction manual we can begin and propagate our own. In Genesis 1:26-28, God the father handed down to us His original intent and design for a successful family legacy from a Father (Creator) to His children. He said, "Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness..." The word "image" (Eikon) in its original intent and definition translates and involves the ideas of representation and manifestation. In just those three short verses He ushers (transfers) to us characteristic traits such as creativity, authority, cultivation (relationships), occupation (work), blessing (approval, exalt), empowerment, instruction (teach, parental hierarchy), reproduction (creation of life), and more. These traits are critical as it pertains to the transfer of life from parent to child.
In short, the propagation of our healthy family legacy enables our children to effectively represent, and authentically manifest by their lives and actions the beliefs, core values, and purposes we have deliberately transferred to them. It is carefully done in the same manner by which God the Father transferred His legacy to us who came ahead as parents. When that chain of events or order is complacently broken we in effect usher chaos into their lives and our society. Complacency brings destruction. The symptoms of the destruction are cohabitation, divorce, abortion, fatherlessness, drug abuse, work ethic, sexual revolution, poverty, homosexuality, injudicious faith, parentless, forms of modern media, amongst others.
Negative familial statistical changes and the obvious exercise of social engineering seek to render irrelevant the virtues of the traditional family. It is no longer a matter of simply pointing out factual destruction to promote change in behavior. Exemplary living is our most effective tool. We must create an affinity within their souls as early as possible to those individuals who have held the greatest positions of power and commitment in their lives since birth; parents. (As put by Dr. Phil McGraw, " Even though they're often reluctant to admit it, they seek approval, love, and a "soft place to fall" in their parents.") It is the natural order harbored in successful family legacy. Accordingly, our personal value systems, our faith, moral absolutes, and healthy societal statistical facts must align.
Here is a critical question. Will our children hear about the critical and decisive matters of life from us first or the predators waiting to wow them and steal their hearts?
The foundational truth of the matter is best said this way, "Every soul longs to be molded in the security of a gratifying family experience."
For now, I will close with this biblical truth of 1 Peter 2:12-22 (Msg), "Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices..." To transform our society we must live what we know is true.
4. The Successful Family Legacy seminar manual
Ezechiel "Zeke" Bambolo, Jr. is the founder of The Firstborn Son, Inc. (non-profit Family Legacy Builders). Bambolo was born and raised in Liberia, West Africa as the firstborn son of African missionaries and teachers. He is an author and speaker who focuses on the strategic importance of family legacy. The foundational components of his messages and seminars rest on the strategic and sacrificial role of the firstborn son for the family, as well as the importance of successful family legacy as a strategic conduit for the stability of the individual, family, culture, and the nation. www.thefirstbornson.com.