40 Years of Prison War

A Generational Curse

I never knew the real effects of Generational Curse and Iniquities until I was doing research on Influence. In church, I would hear these words often, but never knew the real meaning. I certainly never thought I would experience such words in my own life. While I’m more spiritual, I do hold a belief in the power of God. I have always believed He allows things to happen in this universe when it is meant to be, not when I demanded. When my life became consumed with chaos, the person I ran to for refuge was God. I needed guidance, but more importantly, I needed answers because everything seemed so incomprehensible. So many questions came like a tidal wave to my mind. Had I not been a good mother? Where had I gone wrong? What should I have done differently? It was during this time of self-doubt and self-judgment that I began to learn about the power of generational curses and iniquities.

Raising four creative and studious African American men in the same environment and with the same teachings, I often would ponder why I was going through so much chaos with my eldest. I was raising them with the same teachings and within the same environment. My then-husband and I were model parents. We never smoked or drank alcohol. Our work ethic was impeccable. We went to church occasionally to get spiritually fed. We were believers and prayed individually, as a family, with our children, and for our children.

I was plagued by the incessant need to understand how so much havoc had entered our lives by one child … a child whose environment was no different than our other children. My thoughts spun around in a vicious cycle day after day longing for answers to the same questions. What was he thinking? Why had he made this choice? What did we do so wrong to deserve this terrible pain? Why was my love unwavering despite the disorder and confusion brought on by this child? We have three other children to focus our attention upon; yet, we still focused on our now- troubled son. I knew what God promised me through prayers and I kept praying.When would I have the answers I so desperately sought? When?

Just when I thought I couldn’t take another day of these burning questions encompassing my every thought, God answered in the most peculiar way. I mindlessly grabbed the remote control and turned on my television. T.D. Jakes’ sermon was on the channel — Breaking the Cycle. I listened and immediately became enthralled in the words. His sermon confirmed what I had been feeling all this time. It was as though he was speaking only to me. In five words, he answered my questions: My son was his father.

I heard T.D. Jakes state, “God created Adam in his likeness and his image. A blessed God creates a blessed son. Everything in life produces after its own kind. Anytime a father is cursed, the son is cursed. There is no way a cursed father could produce a blessed son. The sin curse passes from generation to generation.” “Sometime or other before your life is over, you have got to fight your daddy’s devil.” “Sooner or later, the same thing that came against your dad, that same thing will come against you.”

I ran straight to the Bible. I read scripture after scripture flipping the pages anxiously reading with intensity. Two scriptures in particular stood out:

Exodus 34:7: “Keeping Mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; punishing the iniquities of their fathers upon their children, and upon the children’s children, until the third and fourth generation.”

Lamentations 5:7: “Our fathers have sinned, and are not; and we have borne their iniquities.”

Those scriptures answered so many of my questions as to why my oldest son was different from my other sons. While he was part of the same household, he had a different father and this went beyond learned behavior or environment. This was a deep rooted issue. This was genetic. As many times as I had condemned myself, I was finally given absolution from my own doubt. Things had suddenly become so transparent to me. I now wondered who was to blame for all of this. Was it his father’s fault or his grandfather’s fault? How far back did this go? My eldest son had embraced the same life of his father by running away and turning to drugs and chaotic adventures that left his life in utter turmoil.

In the 40 years of my existence, I had never read the bible nor researched the scriptures as much as I did that day. I had finally regained my willpower and emotional strength to move forward. I saw my son’s life through the eyes of the beholder. It made me sick and morally bankrupt to realize that I was an active participant in my son’s jail sentence.

Because of my imperfections and lack of common sense, I allowed myself to become involved with a person who never confronted the demons that he was faced with; that generational curse was not yet broken and those chains were linked to me through a number of differences. Ultimately, I was influenced to let this broken and imbalanced person plant a seed in soil that was so wet and weak that another growing plant would be just as imbalanced. I wondered if my son even had the chance to be dominant. Before my research, I would have emphatically said “yes” because of the positive traits that we both (somewhat) possessed; however, there were still generational defects that were coming against my son. Ultimately, it was only by his choice that he would have been saved from his father’s generational curse.

I have thought long and hard about the equities that I have produced out of all of this and have come to the conclusion that my other children had become the equities. They are no better than my eldest; however, they did not possess a trait of having either parent born into a curse of criminal behavior.

My grandfather did mad time behind bars

His son raised by prison guards due to a drug charge

His son indicted on five cases had a stick up crew

DA dismissed three on the strength he plead guilty to two

Two years later little brother is locked up

Robbery went sour and somebody got shot

He signed for fifteen years, my time didn’t alarm him

Co-Defendant got less time “cus” he turned state evidence on them

Four Generations — Four Incarcerations

What goes around, comes around, medical neck braces

Now we are only seeing freedom in high hope dreams

Half the family can touch cans but not soda machines

Say it’s a generational curse, affiliated by birth

Poisonous bloodstream born with toxic genes

Are we destined to be criminals, is that really the fate?

Are our lives supposed to have more holes than milk crates?

Take us away from our mothers and makes their hearts shatter

Now they’re having therapeutic meetings crying to church pastors

History repeats itself, the past conceives the present

This is the reason blacks see more cells than text messages

Main reason prisons look like black neighborhoods

And so many men being stored like can goods

Generational curse, a curse we had to accept

One after another like staircase steps

Read those words again. Thought provoking, right? When you really think about generational traits and the strength of one’s genes, self-destructive behavior, as with any other behavior, becomes part of the family’s bloodline. Alcoholics breed alcoholics, racism breeds racism, wealth breeds wealth, and so on. We must also face the realization that criminals breed criminals. Interestingly, most of these traits are transformative when a child is born into the family, not when one is adopted. Additionally, you realize that environmentally learned behavior also comes into effect.

We all deal with a family legacy of addictions or negativity of some kind. Uncomfortably, we must confront what likely goes back many generations. Now that I am aware, I ask myself questions such as, “What am I passing down to my children whether through generations or environment?” “Will I allow the addictions of my family to imprison me or will I take full responsibility and make better choices while releasing the bondage over my life?”

To every young person, I impress upon them to look with grave intent at a person’s background before committing one’s body, soul, and heart to someone else. Dysfunctional and behavioral patterns are often passed down from parents to children and, sadly, become models in one’s environment. During my youth, I was a rebellious and selfish teenager who made many self-imposed decisions never once thinking about how those decisions would affect my future. I admit that the choices I made to give my life to a man born into criminality and generational disadvantages ultimately impacted my son’s life. As a result, he is serving a 40-year sentence and I harbor an immense amount of guilt, regret, and heartbreak.