Joseph Pulitzer emigrated from Hungary to the United States in the middle of the 19th century. By the beginning of the 20th century, Pulitzer created a publishing empire that included the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. His donation founded the Pulitzer Columbia Graduate School of Journalism which, in 1971, created the Pulitzer Prize for journalism excellence, honoring their benefactor. After he passed away, his sons maintained the empire. However, by the third generation, the grandson, Peter Pulitzer, squandered most of his wealth with poor investments and a costly divorce. Today, in spite of the eponymous journalism prize and the school of journalism, a Pulitzer family member is not involved in publishing and the family fortune is a fraction of what it once was.
“The first generation makes the wealth. The second generation maintains it. The third generation blows it”
This quotation is a generalization but, like the Pulitzer family, there are many real-world examples. Of course, a blame game often results. One generation blames the other for either not properly preparing them or failing to provide a good transition plan. What does God say about families and generations? A great dynasty began with King David. His son, Solomon, maintained it and added to its glory. Expectations were high for Solomon’s son, Rehoboam. Instead, he blew it by ignoring the advice of his father’s closest advisors, leading to a civil war which fractured Israel into two kingdoms.
Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)
The irony is Solomon probably wrote this verse. How sad that after he passed away, his son failed to follow his instructions. There are no guarantees in life. As parents, God commands us to train our children, understanding the precepts of God’s teaching and providing an example of living by faith. However, this does not excuse the responsibility of our children to learn and obey God’s teachings.
Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged; parents are the pride of their children.
Proverbs 17:6 (NLT)
God desires to bless families for generations. Grandchildren are not condemned to blow it. God’s ideal is to see the third generation become the crowning glory of the family! While it may be with wealth and material possessions, the most important legacy we can leave with our children and grandchildren is a legacy of faith in God.
Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.