Mother, Father, children, Grandmother, and Grandfather…all used to live in one house. But things changed. Over time, wealth grew, jobs changed, people became more mobile, independent, and isolated. So kids moved out and got their own place. Until now.
According to a recent Pew study, for the first time in 130 years, a higher percentage of those 18-34 (the current millennial generation) are living at home than those who are moving out. In the Depression, a greater number lived at home, but the percentages haven’t exceeded those who move out…until now. And it isn’t just America: 50% of Millennials in Europe and Japan, 40% in Canada, and growing percentages around the world.
In the 60’s, people couldn’t move out and get married fast enough, but this generation is waiting until an average of 29 years old. In fact, Pew’s research suggests that ¼ of Millennials might never choose to marry. So it is goodbye, “empty nest,” and hello, “full house”…for a long time!
But regardless of why kids stay home longer, one thing is for sure – prolonged proximity will impact future generations. And, as parents and 32% of Millennials adjust to life at home together, society will either be benefited or harmed. Looking to the Bible, we can see why.
Sometimes family can be a great influence. Timothy was raised by a godly mother and grandmother who taught him scripture from a very young age (1 Timothy 1:5). Their devotion gave Timothy all the right tools to understand the words of life. And Timothy became a strong servant of God. Many children leave the home and forget the example of godly parents. But if children are in the home longer, perhaps they will receive the benefit of a good example longer.
Sometimes, though, family can have a negative influence. In Ezekiel 16:44, people were negatively saying, “like mother like daughter.” Sometimes the nation required punishment because a corporate representative sinned. And sometimes, families felt the weight of sin to the 3rd and 4th generation because they had adopted the sins of their parents and grandparents. If children stay in these homes longer, the example of the parents’ sins might take hold in their lives as well.
Ultimately we are all responsible for our own behavior. God told His people to stop using the saying, “The fathers eat the sour grapes, but the children’s teeth are set on edge.” He said, “All souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). Those who live righteously will be blessed.
Family can be a powerful influence. But Jesus reminds us that we must put Him above all else, preferring Him to mother, father, children, selfish desires, and even life itself. Houses might get divided. But there is an eternal reward for those who are able to shrug off negative influences and live for God today (Matthew 10:34-42).