After you’ve identified a cyclical relationship like the Honor Cycle a natural question to ask is, “Who goes first?” Who should step out and jump-start this cycle? I remember sitting in Dr. Emerson Eggerichs’s marriage seminar, surrounded by couples looking for help improving their relationships, when this question came up in regard to a different cycle between men and women, Love & Respect. He paused for a moment, looked up at the eager crowd and answered, “I always say, let whoever is most mature go first.” [TWEET THIS]
What a perfect response! It shifts our thoughts away from who owes whom and who has neglected whom the most, to who is ready to take a step toward healing or improving the relationship. Who is ready to put themselves aside for a moment and put the other person first?
Of course, with young children, parents have the first opportunity to speak blessing long before the child even understands the concept of honor. But an adult child is perfectly able to kick the cycle off by looking for ways to honor their parent. It really doesn’t matter who starts. The trick is to be selfless, preferring the other, meeting their needs with no expectations in return. If you can accomplish this, you’ll see a huge difference in your relationship that will grow for years to come. Over time the other person will likely begin to respond naturally in ways that meet your own needs.
Who will start the Honor Cycle in your relationships?
The Honor Cycle works synergistically among generations. You have the opportunity to initiate the cycle in two directions: first, by practicing honor toward your parents, and then by purposefully releasing a blessing over your children.
Blessing sounds to me like such a spiritual thing. And while it is deeply spiritual, it doesn’t have to be that far-out of a concept. One of the first recorded blessings was actually from God, when he first created Man.
“God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.“
Like this charge from God, blessings are simply words that come from the heart and speak identity and purpose over another person. When those words are inspired by God and received by the hearer, they have power to shape the future.
Biblically, the blessing of a parent is extremely special. In his final moments, Jacob lined up his children and blessed each of them. His words became accurate predictions of their future. When the writer of Hebrews referenced this moment, he used the Greek word eulogeo for the blessing that Jacob gave. I love this definition of that word: “to cause to prosper.” When you speak words of blessing over your children, you set them up to prosper in every realm of life! (tweet this)
Releasing Blessing is the other side of the Honor Cycle. It works hand in hand with Practicing Honor to empower generations to build a more prosperous future, one on the other.
Practically speaking, what does releasing blessing mean to you?
Discovering the Honor Cycle has been a long journey for me. I’ve spent the last fifteen years intentionally growing in the practice of honor. Of course, there are still days where I catch myself wanting to forge my own path. But I’ve seen the advantages of this lifestyle in ways I never could have expected. Here are some questions that can help you get the Honor Cycle moving in your family. (tweet this)
1.) How do you see your parents’ generation?
Think about it for a minute. Do you see value in the previous generation? Given the chance to build something on your own, would you demand that they come and build with you? Or do you relish the opportunity to stand on your own without their oversight?
2.) How do you see the next generation?
Does your vision for the future go beyond your life? What are you invested in that will benefit future generations? Are you prepared to come alongside a new generation and empower them to flourish?
3.) Would you consider a new approach?
What if the Honor Cycle truly does have the power to transform our families and our society? Are you willing to change your lifestyle to take advantage of its power? The Honor Cycle won’t self-initiate, but it only takes one willing person to get it moving in your family. Are you willing to consider a new approach to life and relationships?
Would you like to share your answers to any of these questions?
I know it sounds like I’m confronting a national value. After all, we have a national holiday we call Independence Day. To be clear, I completely agree with the decision to free ourselves from tyranny. I completely disagree, however, with the choice of individuals to use their freedom to isolate themselves and their decisions from people who can help. As much as we are a free society, we are an interdependent society. We need each other to experience the best life possible.
I’m naturally wired to be very independent. I don’t like oversight. I fantasize about autonomous power over my life and decisions. I’ve always been that way. But I’m wrong…especially when it comes to family relationships.
The truth is that there is a blessing that fathers and mothers have to offer the work of this generation. Moreover, there is a blessing that we have to offer future generations. We’re uniquely positioned to build the future by not only focusing on our children but also by restoring the broken parts of relationships with parents. While we may choose to bless future generations, we need the blessing from previous generations to discover our own potential.
I believe this is where the Honor Cycle starts: learning how to open the door for blessing in our lives through the practice of honor, then discovering how to pass along the blessing to future generations.
Do you think our society has gone too far promoting independence? (tweet this)
What value do you see in submitting your life to the input of other people?
Our society has lost touch with the fundamental practices that allow one generation to build on another. Our celebration of independence and individuality has inadvertently disrupted the cycle that allows us to build a legacy across multiple generations. As children, we feel responsible to achieve success on our own. As parents, we’re so caught up pursuing our own dreams; we don’t know how to invest in the next generation. As a result, family relationships are broken and generations are not positioned to work together.
There is a natural cycle, however, that will create a thriving future from generation to generation (tweet this). I call it the Honor Cycle. When properly cultivated, the Honor Cycle empowers families and societies to learn from their successes and failures, solve problems together and build a better future for generations to come.
The Honor Cycle is initiated by two actions:
1) Practicing Honor
2) Releasing Blessing
Do you believe that generations were meant to build one on the other? What do you think about this idea of an Honor Cycle? Is there hope for our future?