Your choices/experiences shape your grandchildren?

Anybody see the Nova episode on PBS last night? I caught only 15 minutes of it. Apparently it aired in 2007. Here’s a transcript of it.

The part I watched was about the impact of diet and chemical exposure on the lifespan and health two generations later.Very interesting!

Check out this little snippet:

NARRATOR: The diagram showed a significant link between generations, between the diet in one and the life expectancy of another.

OLOV BYGREN: When you think that you have found something important for the understanding of the seasons itself, you can imagine that this is something really special.

MARCUS PEMBREY: This is going to become a famous diagram, I’m convinced about that. I get so excited every time I see it. It’s just amazing. Every time I look at it, I find it really exciting. It’s fantastic.

NARRATOR: Much about these findings puzzles researchers. Why, for instance, does this effect only appear in the paternal line of inheritance? And why should famine be both harmful and beneficial, depending on the sex and age of the grandparent who experiences it?

Nonetheless, it raises a tantalizing prospect: that the impact of famine can be captured by the genes, in the egg and sperm, and that the memory of this event could be carried forward to affect grandchildren two generations later.

MARCUS PEMBREY: We are changing the view of what inheritance is. You can’t, in life, in ordinary development and living, separate out the gene from the environmental effect. They’re so intertwined.

NARRATOR: Pembrey and Bygren’s work suggests that our grandparents’ experiences effect our health. But is the effect epigenetic? With no DNA yet analyzed, Pembrey can only speculate. But in Washington state, Michael Skinner seems to have found compelling additional evidence by triggering a similar effect with commonly used pesticides. Skinner wanted to see how these chemicals would affect pregnant rats and their offspring.

Application to counseling and psychology? Do you think about the impact of your behaviors and experiences on the next generation? Do you think about your grandparents choices and experiences on your daily life? Your mood? We could easily become either fatalists (I’m controlled by others) or deniers (I’m in charge of me). But consider how trauma or suffering is passed on in family lines.

Which do you tend to be? A denier or a fatalist?


Filed under counseling, Cultural Anthropology, Psychology

2 responses to “Your choices/experiences shape your grandchildren?

  1. Lou Buses

    In generational issues, I tend to be an opportunist. I tell my counselees, you have the opportunity to believe God and His word and change the course of generations of perpetuated sin or deny God’s power to reconcile and regenerate thereby continuing the destruction of your family. One does not have to believe in “generational sin” (Ex 34.7) to see the effect of sin on generations.

  2. D. Stevenson

    That “generations” thing is interesting. Punishment goes to the 3rd and 4th generation yet, blessings to the thousandth. If we all do good and all do bad…, I wonder what part of our life is punishment because the sin of our grandfather, and what part blessing because of our grandfather, or 10th-great-grandfather? And then how do all the sins, and all the goods of all the previous generations mix and merge into mine? My mind starts to muddle with it all.

    I wonder if we are reading this in a way it is not meant to be. Perhaps it is not concrete-literal, but abstract-literal. As in, our sins affect others beyond ourselves…, even generationaly. Yet, his mercy and grace is greater than all.

    It is amazing how quick we are to play the victim and blame our sins on someone else.

    So often as an elementary school teacher, I would look towards a child who was misbehaving and he would point to another and say, “but he…” I thought it amusing when the child pointed out another before I had even opened my mouth.

    ~~ NOT me!, oh Lord, standin’ in the need of prayer…, It’s my brother, it’s my sister, NOT me!, oh Lord…standin’ in the need of prayer. ~~

    How much better to sing the song of redemption, the testimony of a life redeemed (and being redeemed) from the wounds received by the sins of others.

    Psalms 107:1-2
    Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.