From the time your child is born until the time he or she is ready to walk out into the world no longer tethered to your side and free from your reach, your most important job is to improve the generational status, and perhaps legacy, of your family of origin.

Simply put, the greatest gift you can ever give your son or daughter is to break the cycle, to some measurable level, of any dysfunction that has festered in your family for far too long.

We are all products of our environments – of where we came from. There is no question our parents make a lasting imprint on our souls and sense of self. Our habits, our preferences, our beliefs, and our opinions originated by watching, learning and listening to our parents as small children.

As parents, we are obligated to transfer the customs and traditions we enjoyed as children. We are obligated to provide safe and nurturing homes. We are also required to pay attention to the things that caused us the greatest amount of angst and discomfort when we were young and work hard to keep these things from creeping into the lives of our children.

This isn’t about parent bashing. Like many of you reading this right now, I’m a parent too. Also like you, I have no go-to, all-knowing reference book I can use to tell me exactly what to do in each and every situation. To be fair, our parents did not have access to such a resource either. But the point is we must recognize the elements from our childhood we do not want to bring into the lives of our children.

If you come from an abusive family – stop the abuse. If you come from a family who misuses drugs or alcohol – stop the addictions. If you come from a family with prejudicial tendencies – stop the prejudice. If you come from a family who has a hard time expressing love and emotion – begin learning how to share your feelings.

If you can take just one thing from your childhood that you had to endure, and keep your children from experiencing it then you have truly given you’re a child a special gift. We all have the responsibility to lift our heads and take a close look at our actions and behaviors. Just because a certain negative and potentially damaging circumstance happened to us, doesn’t give us the license to keep perpetuating it.

Now for the real sobering news: Your children will have this same responsibility to their children. No matter your commitment or resolve from keeping hurtful or damaging things that live inside of you from your children, you will transfer, to some degree, some of the garbage you still carry with you into adulthood. This is inevitable.

Give yourself grace and compassion. You are not perfect and you will not give your children a perfect life – none of us can. Therefore, your children will need to keep the process going, and so forth for as many generations as time and the universe will allow.

A parent’s gift is simple – make your child’s life better than your childhood; make just one shift in position regarding an attitude, tendency or behavior; set the example for them to follow so the process may be continued.

Author's Bio: 

Alex Blackwell is the author of The Next 45 Years - a website dedicated to sharing and creating happiness, life balance and success for the rest of our lives. To read more inspirational stories and articles, please visit: