Tick...Tock... Tick... Tock... Tick... Tock...A pendulum swings from one margin to the next, stopping momentarily at the extreme reach of the arm, only to have gravity pull it back down and kinetic energy swing it the other way. Back and forth. From one limit to another.
So it seems to happen in life also. The cycles and patterns of countries, families and individuals swing back and forth, from one extreme to another...just like the pendulum. One generation is frugal, strict with rules, hard working. The next generation is wasteful, lawless, and lazy. Eventually, the pendulum flows back to center, only to keep right on going, headed to the far extreme once again. We understand why this happens with the pendulum of a clock, but why does this happen with people? I do not have an answer for this, but I do have a hypothesis: Generational cycles work in patterns throughout history.
I've heard it said that generational cycles go in patterns of four. Idealist, Reactive, Civic, and Adaptive. Another place that "four generations" are mentioned is in the Bible as it says the consequences of the father's sins can pour over into his children to the third and fourth generations. We notice these family sequences as we say things like, "He is a Kennedy after all," or "...those Petersons are just so generous." There are physical, spiritual, and emotional family traits in each family. And according to God's Word, there can be consequences still showing up from great-grandfather Frank! I believe this is part of the reason things like alcoholism can be such a stronghold in families. It's almost as if it's "in their blood". But thank God, these strongholds can be broken with the help of God, who is the God of Redemption!
What runs in your family? There are both good qualities and bad in every family. As I think of this pendulum swinging as I seek to change certain unhealthy patterns from my past, I pray that I not swing the pendulum too far the other direction. But then I started to wonder... can you ever swing the pendulum too far when it comes to grace? Have you ever heard someone say, "They are just too gracious"? I think this is one "tick" of the clock I'm going to try to unhinge and let it fly off kilter! That's my desire anyway...
Grace is one thing the next generation will never have to try to "over-correct". Who wants to reverse that swing of the pendulum? Not me!