We have studied, enjoyed and been influenced by the work of Dr. Caroline Leaf. She is a brain specialist. In her most recent post she says,
“I have been telling you about the amazing neuroplasticity of the brain, the literal ability to rewire the brain and create new and better networks.”
This is based on the science called Epigenetics.
“I want to make you aware of how your thoughts not only affect you, but also your family and children and even as far as your great, great grandchildren. Science is showing us that the life experiences, thoughts and decisions of grandparents and even great grandparents change eggs and sperm so indelibly that this is passed onto their children up to 4 generations…this sounds like Numbers 14:18:”
“…the iniquities of the father reach to the third and fourth generations.”
“This scriptural principle is scientifically termed transgenerational epigenetic inheritance and basically means something outside the cell (diet, exercise, thoughts, nurturing) changes the on/off switch on the genes of the DNA in sperm and eggs.”
What the young become is effected, if not determined, by the actions, thoughts and wiring in the elders’ brains.
The more we read about this science, the more exciting and scary it sounds. Dr. Leaf will present on TEDX February 4, 2014. Her book, “Switch on your Brain” is helpful.
Her current email post has the headline: “Sins of the Grandfathers.” The text of the post is about a 4-point font. I’m amused. Dr. Leaf is from South Africa and talks twice as fast as a New Yorker. But, the headline jumped at me like a 64-point font. It really captured me!
You can rewire your brain. Genes inherited from your ancestors come with a switch attached. You, to some degree, decide whether the switch is thrown on or off. You do this by your own thoughts, words, habits. Your destiny is not determined by your family of origin.
I have studied Millennials. In my consulting, I find churches desperately want to program so they can reach that generation. Millennials are the brass ring. I thoroughly understand and appreciate the vision and plead for adequate strategies. But Dr. Leaf has challenged my thinking.
If grandfathers are that influential and responsible, should they not be our targeted market? The simple thinking is—let’s lead a spiritual crusade for grandfathers! All the researchers and arm chair observers are saying Ferguson, Missouri burned and the current societal upheaval and the hoodlumism is result of the deteriorated and disintegrated American family. (I differentiate between protest and anarchist riots.) Eighty-five percent of men in prison had no father in their home or life.
I see two challenges. Proclaim the full gospel of Jesus to grandfathers so they will be healed, trained and commissioned. Through some mysterious transfer, what affects granddad will affect the youngers. That is task one. (I understand the severe up-hill fight.) The second challenge is to prepare young men for their own grandparenting. That means igniting the commitment to destiny and an obsession on legacy.
The reality check comes when I remember who the grandparents are. This will shake the cobwebs out: Kris Kardashian is a grandmother. You want to tell her to act her age? She is. Grandparents are still working, wearing sexy clothes and making headlines—good and bad.
If the “sins of the grandfathers” (What! No grandmothers in this?) are responsible, then aren’t they also the key to industrial-size influence? Not all grandparents move to Florida or Arizona retirement villages. What about building some churches around grandparents who have a viable and strategy-oriented vision. The vision is not to recapture 1956 or 1981, but a tactic-linked vision of the future where the modern family leans biblically.
Interesting to me: Millennials desire to have relationships with their elders.
You must add your thinking to this before we call for a march to stand in line at Starbucks with our grandes.
©2014 D. Dean Benton http://www.bentonministries.com
Writer, Wonderer, Provoker
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