Generational Patterns

I have been asked to write a short chapter for a new book. I was asked to write about Generational Patterns v Generational Choices. This is my chapter:

I had heard it said many, many times that “there is no such thing as generational patterns, just generational choices”. But I have found this to be wrong.

I didn’t grow up in church. I didn’t have a Christian family. In fact I was the first person in my family to get saved.

I didn’t have a mentor, a spiritual father, and old friend to seek advise. I had to figure it out for myself. I had to navigate life, friendships, relationships, girls, work, finances and all the other complexities that we face, on my own. I longed for a sounding board of a man who had walked the same paths, a man who had tackled these issues and a man who could say “I have done this before”. To show me the paths he had had walked – the ancient paths.

My life however was fine. It was fine by most people’s standards. But I wanted more than fine. I wanted more than just OK. I found myself tripping over the same issues again and again in my life. Worry, stress, depression and anxiety were all common friends of mine. They didn’t stay long, but they affected me massively when they were there. Joy, happiness, steadfastness were also friends, but sadly they didn’t stay long either. Life was a mini rollercoaster of emotion. Again, this seemed fine by the world’s standards, but I wanted better.

Statistics about generational patterns such as smoking are staggering: children with at least one parent who smoke are 72% more likely to smoke in adolescence (Smoke Free Action 2016). Yes, the children are choosing to smoke but a concerning pattern is beginning to emerge.

I worked out what my issues were and I prayed. I prayed with people. I prayed on my own. But things didn’t seem to change. I felt that I was living right and doing all I could, but nothing changed.

I was beginning to see more and more that I was wounded. I believe all men are wounded in some way and carry scars from their childhood. Some more than others. I was carrying scars. I was also carrying wounds. Painful, open wounds that were not healing.

I wanted this pattern to change so I booked some ministry time. Not just a prayer line but some 1:1 ministry time. 3 days worth in fact. I tried to book the time off work. They said no. So I quit. I was so committed to healing the wounds that I would do anything to get there.

It was here, at the ministry time, that I first heard about generational patterns. They didn’t take about choices. They talked about patterns. They asked questions about my father, his father, his father. They were finding where the wounds in our family were first made and they were looking to heal them. Patterns were broken. Healing came.

If this healing is something you desire in your life, go after it. But properly go after it. Seek help from a ministry such as Christian therapy or counselling. Or a healing ministry like Bethal Sozo. Seek that healing with all your heart.

Family members in passed generations made some choices in life that allowed a lot of hurt and trauma into our family. A wounded man will wound others. A hurting man will hurt others. This was not a choice. This was a pattern. And it was passed down through the generations from one man to another.

In Exodus 20, the 10 Commandments are written for all mankind to follow and observe.

The 1st commandment was to love the Lord your God.

The 2nd commandment is about generational patterns:

Exodus 20: 5-6.

“for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

If that doesn’t scream generational patterns, I don’t know what will.

I have seen first-hand the destruction of generational patterns. The pattern that starts in childhood and continues into adulthood. The pattern that can cause harm, trauma and pain. But I have also seen the power of generational patterns. The pattern of goodness. The pattern of wisdom. The pattern of passing a healthy legacy to our children.

If people chose to face their fears and issues and break the patterns, your children will not have to face the same issues.

And because of that, it is well worth the fight.

Much love. Rob

Smoke Free Action. Government Publication. March 2016

Rob Harvie Written by:


  1. Martin Moorman
    11th June 2016

    Great read Rob and a perspective that I can totally agree with. I’ve always said in my education contexts, that “the experiences of our children make them” just like the experience you/I had I our childhood, have made us what we are. Sometimes we have to work really hard to ‘Ditch our baggage’ or seek that professional help that you allude to. From a distance, looking in, I can see only positive stuff in how you endorse and nurture and encourage your kids. It’s fab how you chuck them into rivers, camp, muck about and HAVE non digital fun in heaps: inspirational!
    It’s weird really, but given I only met you last week for the first time, there iseems to be a definite connection a shared life perspective. Grateful for that connection. I’ve subscribed to Moxie………but don’t be alarmed I’m not stalking you or a bunny boiler….just enjoy a good and easy read on subjects that interest me!

    • robbieharvie
      11th June 2016

      Thanks Martin. You are absolutely right about the early childhood experiences making them as people. Both good and bad.
      I definitely feel a kindred spirit and a wild camp, fire pit, beer combo is definitely needed soon. Thanks for subscribing and thank you for your kind comments and banter. 👍

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