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Change Your Family Tree

by David DeFord

Author and radio financial advisor Dave Ramsey encourages his audience to stop making the financial mistakes they have learned from their parents. He tells them to “change their family trees.”

Each of us inherited certain predispositions. Some of us tend to be more prone to addictions than others. Some experienced abuse in one of its ugly forms, and now continue the abuse cycle. Others have a propensity to tip the scales unhealthily. Some inherit heart problems. Others find they have deviant urges. Bad tempers can also be inherited.

Runners joke that the best way for them to improve their performance would be to change their parents.

Many of our good attributes also come to us from our parents. These we want to keep.

Some of our tendencies are learned, and others come to us genetically.

Do these inherited or learned tendencies rob us of our choices to overcome them? Are we locked in their grips?

Many with deviant tendencies say, “It’s just who I am.” Well, you don’t have to stay that way. You can escape your addictions and negative propensities.

You can choose to stay locked in their grips, or you can choose to break free.

You can also choose to perpetuate these negative tendencies through your children, or you can choose to break the cycle.

You can change your family trees.

How do you do this?

1. Identify your negative attribute.
2. Ponder the outcomes the attribute will produce.
3. Decide if you want these outcomes.
4. Think about what you must do to change the attribute.
5. Count and compare the outcome of keeping the tendency with the cost of eliminating it.
6. Choose whether the cost of changing the outcome is worth it.

Then get started changing your family tree.

When the effort becomes discouraging, go back to items five and six above. Count and compare the outcomes to the cost of eliminating them. Choose whether it is worth continuing.

If you decide to change your family tree, you will change your own life and the lives of those around you.

Very few decisions affect only you. Your decisions change the lives of those whom you love.

You have the power to choose. You may need professional assistance, but you have the power.

Don’t settle by saying, "It's just who I am." It is NOT who you are. You can change.

Change your family tree.


Debt is the enemy. Dave Ramsey

Debt is a willing servant but a cruel master. Ezra Taft Benson

If there is any one thing that will bring peace and contentment into the human heart and into the family, it is to live within our means, and if there is any one thing that is grinding and discouraging and disheartening, it is to have debts and obligations that one cannot meet. Heber J. Grant

Interest never sleeps nor sickens nor dies; it never goes to the hospital; it works on Sunday's and holidays; it never takes a vacation; it never visits nor travels; it takes no pleasure; it is never laid off work nor discharged from employment; it never works on reduced hours; it never has short crops nor droughts; it never pays taxes; it buys no food; it wears no clothes; it is unhoused and without home and so has no repairs, no replacements, no shingling, plumbing, painting, or whitewashing; it has neither wife, children, father, mother, nor kinfolk to watch over and care for; it has no expense of living; it has neither weddings nor births nor deaths; it has no love, no sympathy; it is as hard and soulless as a granite cliff. Once in debt, interest is your companion every minute of the day and night; you cannot shun it or slip away from it; you cannot dismiss it; it yields neither to entreaties, demands, or orders; and whenever you get in its way or cross its course or fail to meet its demands, it crushes you. J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

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