rediscovering christianity's forgotten, organic ways amidst the modern industrial religious machine

Building a Multi-Generational Vision.

by Micah Landers

We don’t normally think multi-generationally. Simply put, most of us do not realize where our family has come from, and even fewer of us have any ideals or goals pertaining to where our families will be headed after we are placed in the ground. As modern Americans, it would be odd if our goals were larger than managing the next month’s calendar or aiming for a promotion at work.

In many cultures historically, however, people have known where they come from and have identified themselves based on generations of family history. After identifying themselves based upon the actions and circumstances of their ancestors, their goals in life revolve around furthering the cause of benefiting their heirs. It is strange to imagine introducing myself to someone based upon the events of my great-grandfather’s lifetime. But many people have spent their entire existence in this frame of mind.

When it comes to looking back upon our heritage, Americans have a uniquely tough time. The greatest thing all Americans have in common is a leaving behind of the places and cultures that defined our various peoples. We all started over. While this has become a great heritage for many people, it also destroys the concept of previous heritage. For example, my father’s family can’t even trace our roots back more than 4 generations or so.

The past is not so important though. As Christian families who believe in the cause of disciple-making, we know that our children and the physical heritage we will leave behind is likely the most vital disciple-making opportunity available to us, so we must begin to cast a vision that is long term. We need to train ourselves to operate with a multi-generational vision.

As the Landers personally begin to raise a family and recognize the importance of having vision for each child’s future, we want to take it a step further and start to see how we can build into the generations that will come after them and beyond.

Recently we were talking to some friends about the practical ways to build this mind-set, and here are some of our various efforts at this point.

– Family Vision Statement

Many families we know have written and re-written family mission statements. These are designed to both cast consistent redirecting vision and to point efforts toward the goals a family finds to be vital in a given season of life.

– Family Crest

Huge coolness and creativity factors here, and also great for instilling the concept of in a next generation. It seems really beneficial and fun to explore and try to create a symbolic imagery that can summarize aspects of the family vision. Art and creativity are vital to learning, and this is fun and actually really helpful for including the kiddos.

Dad can go get it tattooed once the kids finish drawing it. 🙂

– The Lion’s Tome

Our family owns a pretty massive, ancient-looking journal which I have fancifully titled “The Lion’s Tome.” My genius wife bought it for our first anniversary, and we have begun to use it to document the big decisions and hard places that the Lord has directed our family in and through. The intention in using this book is specifically so that generations whom we will never meet can actually have an eye-witness account of what the Lord has done to prove Himself faithful to our family throughout many decades and even centuries. It will become a testimony of His faithfulness now for the generations to come.

– E-mailing Norah

It may sound slightly gushy, but I set up an e-mail account for our daughter, Norah, when she was around 6 months old. I send her e-mails frequently, meant only for her, talking about the things I am learning as I get to know her, about what it is like to be her dad, about how our family is growing. This is similar to The Lion’s Tome, but it is a shorter scale vision and an extremely personal one. Although I plan on telling her much personally, this is an intentional gift I plan on bestowing on her some day.

I also plan on keeping this up for all our other kids to follow.

Note – Speaking practically, it seems like a good idea to mix up the mediums used for documenting things. We do a lot online and through “the cloud,” but I love the feel and practical safety of having tangible copies on paper. If you want something to really last a long time, try working with a chisel and stone tablet.

Be creative.

Be intentional.

Invest in your great grandkids, today.

Micah and Lisa Landers live on Bluegrass St. in Fort Thomas, KY with their wee daughter Norah and hyperactive dog Zeus. Micah is a deep thinker, voracious reader, and fellow believer that J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion is the closest thing to Scripture mortal man has ever written.