Breaking Patterns

What’s up, everybody? So, bear with me on this post, because this is gonna be potentially a longer post. Well, not longer. But you may have to pay attention a little bit on this one, because I guess it’s just what I call a little deeper. So, the title … afternoon, Greg. How’re you doing? The title of it is, Breaking Patterns. And I did this because there’s this new field of study. I mean not new, but new-ish, I guess. It’s called epigenetics. So I’m gonna read a couple things, ’cause I don’t want to get these things wrong. And here’s the other thing. I’m gonna do my best to be accurate about this thing, this field. If I’m not, I apologize, but I’m not an epigeneticist. But I am gonna do my best to make it accurate and if it’s not, feel free to let me know. I don’t have a problem with being called out on something. But just know that I’m not claiming to know everything.

So epigenetics. I’m gonna give you a definition of what epigenetics is. So, really simple. It’s the study of a biological mechanism, so in other words, us. We are that biological mechanism. Or biological mechanisms. That will switch genes on and off. So it’s not actually the DNA. It’s what sits epi, or above, the gene structure. So what it looks like is, when you have your DNA and the genes. You know, that helix. That double-coiled helix that everybody kinda knows about. When they talk about genes, right? And genetics. And expression. Some genetics are good, some genetics, like the joints, the genetics that I’ve inherited down with my joints and my knees and my ligaments and all that, that sucks. That’s genetics.

So what epigenetics says, or talks about, is that you can’t necessarily change the DNA or the gene. But you can change whether or not, and here I’m gonna read about this here, certain circumstances in life can cause genes to be silenced or expressed over time. So in other words, they can be turned off or turned on, those genes. The genes are still there, and the genes don’t change. But they can either be turned on or turned off. Some people will talk about cancer. Cancer can be, turning cancer on, turning off.

The other thing that I wanted to talk about and bring to light here, and what I think is so important, is addiction. Now, addictions can be … and the reason I’m talking about this is ’cause this all kind of clicked for me within the last little bit here. And I got to thinking, wow. I wished I woulda known about these things. About epigenetics. Of course, I don’t think they even, they weren’t even there before I had kids. But I wished I woulda known this stuff before I had kids. Before I had my boys. Because they talk about, they did a study, or there’s studies been done where they manipulated the genetic structure of a rat. Or mice. Or whatever, I don’t know which one it was. And what they did is they made them stupid. For lack of a better term. I don’t know how they did it or what they did to it. Again, I’m not a geneticist. But they made them stupid mice, and stupid rats. Where they couldn’t figure out things. So that is something that is a genetic expression now that will be passed down to their offspring. So, they let them have offspring.

But what they did is they took these two groups of rats. They took one, and they just did normal things. They just were rats. Then they took the other, and they gave them a stimulating environment to live in. Meaning, they challenged their brains, they did all this stuff, they gave rewards. Kind of sounds like good parenting versus absent parenting, right? Well, here’s the interesting thing. In the group that they didn’t do anything to, the offspring were stupid, for lack of a better term. They couldn’t figure things out. In the group that they actually gave stimulating environment to, and rewards, and worked with them, they actually saw that their offspring, that that gene, that genetic expression wasn’t there for the stupidity. It was turned off, allowing them to live to their potential. So they talk about that.

When you look at us, when there’s humans, dads, whether it’s addictions like tobacco or alcohol or porn or whatever the addiction is, that gene over time, ’cause we know that with addiction that things actually change in the brain, right? So what can happen is they’re saying that that genetic expression, that gene, for addiction, is now turned on. And when you have kids, or offspring, guess what? That genetic expression has the potential to be turned on in your kids. But, if you’re able to conquer those addictions, those things that either we shouldn’t be doing that are bad for us, whether it’s anger, I don’t know. Whatever that genetic expression or allows genetically to be passed down, if we can conquer that and turn that gene off by either beating the addiction process, whatever that looks like, then with our kids, that genetic expression will be off as well.

And so I was thinking about this like, holy smokes. And here’s why it’s important, because I just quit chewing, what, a year ago, in February. And I’m looking at this going, alright, now my kids are 13. My boys are 13, 12, and almost 10. And I feel kinda bad all of a sudden. ‘Cause I’m like, man, if I coulda kicked that before I had the kids. ‘Cause man, I was chewing back then, I was addicted 100% to that stuff. But if I coulda kicked that back then, what could be different? Now I don’t think it’s necessarily that … I think that that genetic expression may be turned on in them, but I think I have the ability to teach them how to conquer their brain. How to conquer those things.

Now, it’s not like I don’t have any tools in my toolbox with the boys growing up and as they go. But at the same point, man, I wished I would have been able to take that addiction gene and just flip it off. If I’d have known that, I might have decided to quit earlier. I might not have, either. I just don’t know. I mean, hindsight’s 20/20, right?

So that’s just one of the things that, when I found out about this, I thought, okay, this is definitely something for the Man Up page. This is a topic that I think more men need to know about, and this came across from the group that I’m in. It’s called Conquer Series, that I’m in with my son, just to try and again, battle things that aren’t necessarily a problem yet, you know? That aren’t an issue. I’d rather be prepared, have it and not need it, than need it and not have it, if you know what I mean. And that’s what I’m trying to do with my boys. And so this Conquer Series is what that is about.

So think about this. Think about what it is in your life that genetically we’re passing down. What we unknowingly may pass to our own kids, but that we may have control over. So think about that as you’re talking to people who are younger than you, who haven’t had kids yet. Your own kids. Now say like, okay, Chris, you made a great point. That’s why I stopped drinking. I have a strong family history of alcoholism. Sound like a marble salesman with a mouthful of samples! And I don’t want that to continue. Stop the issue before it becomes one. That’s it. Now Chris, you have kids already. I have kids already. Now, our job is to watch for those things. Those things that for both of us and with an addictive type of personality, with an addictive gene that’s been turned on, what are we doing and paying attention to that will make sure that our kids don’t fall into that trap? That’s where it is. And I think that’s where, it’s not the end of the world.

If you come to a revelation and you learn and you grow and you come onto something new, and you go, crap, man, I wished I woulda known that before. Where it becomes a mistake is if you don’t do anything about it. If you don’t look forward and figure out, okay, what else can I do? There’s always something that we can do. There’s always something that can be done. It’s just, how creative are you willing to get?

So Kevin Haney, is it genes or environment that people start on habits like this? I think that the genetic expression for this allows, once maybe something has been tried. It’s kind of like, when you look at meth. Meth they say, if you try it once and you’re not addicted, they say you’ve won the lottery. So I think when you look at it like this, an addictive process, you only become addicted to something once you try something. So for our kids, that team pressure, that peer pressure to drink or to smoke or to do drugs or to look at porn or whatever that is, it’s that pressure of allowing someone to dictate your thinking, that gets you maybe to the point where now that genetic piece can take over. Again, I’m not a geneticist. Nor am I a certified psychotherapist or any other certified anything. Maybe certifiable at times, but, I think about that.

And I think that’s the thing with our kids that becomes more important is, and this is the reason, one of the things I got on my tattoo is this right here. And it’s a puppet hand. And this is my past. This is the past piece of my sleeves. And one of the things, the reasons I put it on there is because for the longest time, I was a puppet. I did not think for myself. I tried to please everybody else. I tried to do what I thought everybody else thought I should do. Making everybody else happy. And that wasn’t the right thing. That wasn’t me thinking for myself.

And I think that’s where these, Denise, you said, “Coming from a recovering addict, please don’t try anything. It isn’t worth it, I can promise you that.” Denise, I can’t think of truer words spoken. There is no reason for any of it, honestly. There isn’t. There’s no definitive reason why somebody needs to drink. I mean, there isn’t. I can’t come up with one. But I think with this piece here, that’s I think, Kevin, speaking to your question. Habit versus, or genetic versus being exposed, or exposed to it. I think teaching our kids and our boys, and our daughters, I mean are daughters are different. As men, we have a lot we can add to both our sons and our daughters. But it’s teaching that piece of, don’t be that puppet. Don’t let somebody else pull your strings. Don’t let somebody else dictate how you think and what you think. It’s like, with my boys and our faith, and their faith. I expose them to it, but at the same time, they need to be sure in what they believe and why they believe it. Because if we’re not sure and we’re not secure, and we’re not confident in who we are, what we are, what we believe, we can be easily swayed from it. Once it’s ours, once it’s locked in to us, then those things happen.

So again, with this genetic component, this epigenetics piece. I’m realizing it after I’ve had all these issues. After all this stuff happened when I was younger and then I had kids. What am I gonna do now? Well my thing now is to make sure that I raise them to the point where they’re confident, they’re secure, and I’ll even get into that here in a little, in one of the future videos. Is how we can raise and instill confidence and security in those around us that we love, whether it’s our wives, whether it’s our kids, whether it’s people we work with, people that work for us. Those types of things. I’ll get into a little bit of that, ’cause there’s some really good information out there for that as well.

But yeah. Don’t feel today that if you’ve passed that point that there’s nothing you can do, there is something you can do. You can teach your kids to be secure in who they are, because they’re created wonderfully. So that’s all I had today guys, just something again that struck me, caught my eye with this epigenetics stuff is pretty cool. Do what you can to, if you’re stuck in that rut, change it. Change that switch. Turn that gene off, if you can.

Hope you all have a great rest of the day, and if you are a praying person, and I’m just gonna say this because we’ve got a good friend Jacob Odama, he’s struggling right now with some issues. One of them being kidney failure. He’s already made it through a zero percent chance of making it through the surgery, zero percent chance of making it without the surgery. He’s made it through that. And he’s fighting for his life. So if that’s the case, seven young kids, and a wife, and you know what? If that speaks to you, send up a prayer for him. Alright guys, have a great rest of the week. I’ll talk to you soon.