Don’t Pass it On

'Fern' by Gaimard ( by GAIMARD

Thought for the Week

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” ~Romans 12:2

796509-d071d656-e552-11e3-aae6-8a781d1cd673A high percentage of abusers were themselves abused as children–physically, verbally, sexually. Other people may have more subtly broken models of adulthood, yet they too pass on their brokenness.

No one is a perfect model.

We once had two sweet but morbidly obese neighbors, who asked us to housesit for them. Their home looked like them, unscrubbed and unkempt, with nothing but sugary snacks and fat-laden junk foods in its cupboards, not a hint of protein or fresh produce in sight. They were likeable people, and yet, at the same time we feared for their son. He was wiry and active at age five. But within just a few short years, he’d grown lethargic and grossly overweight. Just like his parents. They loved their son, yes, and would never have dreamed of abusing him.

And yet they did.

How? By abusing themselves, and by modeling that abuse to their child. We all inherit legacies of brokenness, even those of us who are from “the best of families.”

Every one one of us is challenged, by sheer virtue of being born, to do better than our parents. To keep what’s good…and replace what’s broken. For our children and for our hurting world’s sake, we’re called to model better, not broken. So, don’t pass it on. Difficult? Oh, yes–perhaps the most difficult thing you’ll ever do.

But infinitely worth it.


About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
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39 Responses to Don’t Pass it On

  1. Very good advice. Particularly in sexual abuse. Abused become abusers.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I gave it my all but couldn’t save them from my broken marriage.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Mark Johnson says:

    How true. Great post, Mitch … and call to action.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hi Mitch. Your posts, typically, offer up much food for thought, especially today’s. Indeed, the intergenerational cycle of abuse can even transpire at the dining room table. Little doubt, each of your bygone neighbors wound up with a dramatically reduced “shelf life.” Beyond that, it’d be fair to point out that gobbling up “unscrubbed”, “unkempt”, “fat-laden” crap, from the ideological menu, can prove just as unhealthy. Please delete my comment if it has caused any indigestion.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. numrhood says:

    delight yourself in the lord says chapter 37:02


  6. I have come to believe that we all hurt from our own hurts and brokenness and to stop the cycle, we need to be loved into wholeness.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. It is a lot harder to do than say. Many people think that you should do the right thing even if it was not the case for you. It is something that we all have to work on. I wanted to do for my children all the things that I missed in my childhood. I wasn’t abused, just hard-working parents with not much time for things that I felt I needed.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. revruss1220 says:

    I find it unspeakably sad to see legacies of abuse and neglect be passed along from one generation to the next… most of the time without a moment’s consideration of the consequences. Lord, in your mercy…

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Nancy Ruegg says:

    My challenge was to live up to my parents’ example. They somehow achieved the balance between setting parameters and allowing me to be part of the process, as well as make many of my own decisions. As I became a teenager, they gave me quite a bit of freedom. My choices were often guided by the fact I didn’t want to do anything that would spoil their trust and clip my new wings. (Of course, my success rate was NOT 100%!) As for my own parenting: somehow my own children became productive citizens in spite of me!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Like your obese neighbors’ son, kids respond to what their parents actually do.  Setting a good example is hard, but walking the walk is way better than talking the talk at getting a wholesome message across.  It’s sad that the neighbors apparently didn’t even try.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Somehow it wasn’t until I had children that I realized how broken I really felt. I realized the love I felt for my children, was almost never expressed to me. What I experienced was something else and I picked up a lot of habits from it. I am truly a beginner in love, and it effects my children greatly.

    The amount of guilt I feel in my inability to reliability give my children what I know they need and what I want to give has almost destroyed me. I do believe you are right in that it is the ways we hurt ourselves that often end up being the ways we hurt our children. To me it’s an utter maze, my only stability is God. His patient and loyal Love comforts, encourages, and teaches me.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ann Coleman says:

    Somehow I’m not getting emails with your new posts in them, Mitch! I’ll try to figure out what’s going on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Hmm. Let me know what you find out, Ann, or if it’s resolved. My traffic has dropped a lot recently. Makes me wonder how many people this has happened to.


      • Ann Coleman says:

        It looked as if the settings hadn’t changed, but I tried “resetting it.” If that doesn’t work, I’ll just unfollow you and then follow again. I’m glad I saw your most recent post on Facebook, or I wouldn’t have thought of it. Sometimes WordPress just drops blogs, I’m not sure why. But if your traffic has dropped significantly, that is probably why.

        Liked by 1 person

      • mitchteemley says:

        So I’ve heard, Ann, but I have no idea what to do about it, or even precisely what “it” is.


  13. Ann Coleman says:

    I didn’t get your blog this morning either, so I’m going to try that Unfollow and then Follow thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. blmaluso says:


    I am hoping this link opens…it was sent to me from a friend, and is so appropriate regarding this post.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. blmaluso says:

    Never underestimate a cycle breaker. Not only did they experience years of generational trauma, but they stood in the face of the trauma and fought to say ‘This ends with me.’ This is brave. This is powerful. This comes at a significant cost. Never underestimate a cycle breaker.

    Nate Postlethwait

    Liked by 1 person

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