A family tradition

My family has a perverted and warped tradition. For some twisted reason, if you carry on a negative behavior from any  relative, my family will begin calling you “Lil’ So-in-So.” (I think this is our version of “He’s just like ____________.” Without getting into specifics, and therefore not offending anyone in my family who may read this, I’m going to make up a scenario so that you’ll be able to understand just how this works. As far as I know, we do not have an active alcoholic in my family so I feel comfortable with this scenario….

Let’s pretend that I have a “Uncle Luigi” who is an alcoholic with a very nasty temper. Well, if a two year old in the family began throwing temper tantrums, the people in my family wold automatically start calling him “Lil’ Luigi.”  Now this name calling doesn’t end once the child has become an adult. Oh no! It’s worse than that because for the rest of his  life, he will be called “Lil’ Luigi.” And, truth be told, he’ll probably become more and more like “Uncle Luigi” until we can’t tell the two apart.

I’m not sure why this has become a family tradition. I think it might be a simple way of explaining how someone behaves without having to go into detail because everyone knows “Uncle Luigi.” Or maybe it’s a way of excusing the behavior. Like I said,  I’m not sure how it started or why it has been carried on for so long but I’m sure that it needs to end.

I know that each and every person has some “bad blood” running through their veins. Just like the color of our eyes or the texture of our hair that we inherited, we all have struggles with behaviors or habits that have been passed down to us. But when we call someone “Lil So-in-So” or we say that “he’s just like his _______,” we are reinforcing those behaviors instead of helping someone learn how to overcome them.

As a mother and a grandmother, I want to give my girls every opportunity to succeed  in life. I want them to know that they can overcome any obstacle that stands in their way. I don’t want them burdened with my insecurities or fear. If they are anything like me, I pray to God that it’s a better version than I will ever be and that they are not nor ever will be “Lil Sharons.”

What about you? Do you share a family tradition like ours? If so, how can you be a change agent in your family?

Let no harmful language come from your mouth, only good words that are helpful in meeting the need, words that will benefit those who hear them. Ephesians 4:29  (Complete Jewish Bible)

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