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The Power of the Genogram

Posted on July 21st, 2014

The “Genogram Your Family” tool is one of the pivotal tools we use at New Life Fellowship Church for deep, beneath the surface transformation. Jonathan Walton shared this poem at our Sunday services on July 20th about the profound impact the genogram had on his life.  Enjoy!  – Pete    

Poem – by Jonathan Walton 

Poetry is my release
my shield from all grief
my refuge to which I retreat when this world is too much for me
Phrases on pages are the language my mind speaks
metaphors and similes
poetic elements I just breathe.

My name is Jonathan Walton and I want to tell you about my genogram.

A Genogram is a map of our family looking back.
We take note of the values and stakeholds
The do’s and don’ts of our households
of our cultures
And then you compare it to the Gospel.
Because there are some things our family hold dear that don’t agree with
the family of Jesus
In fact there are some actions and practices that we hold closer than the
love of Jesus and a Genogram helps us see them.

I come from a family where some want Jesus, taught me to love Jesus and
for these I am deeply grateful.

I also come from a culture that ducks emotions, stuffs emotions because
someone told us if you put emotions low enough surely they would die. But
they don’t.
Because emotions are like the plates under oceans and when they shake
they cause earthquakes and cause tsunamis in our lives.

So when there’s infidelity and cheating, abuse, murder and drug dealing – I
looked around and all of the feelings were gone. Stuffed under couches,
behind handkerchiefs and in coffins.

Three lies became laws in my heart: get of it, move on, be a man.

Get over it, move on, be a man.
Get over it – be emotionally absent.
Move on – it’s okay not to be present.
Be a man – get married and then sleep with as many women as you can.

Get over it – what you feel isn’t important.
Move on – teach others to stuff it too.
Be a man – life is all about you.

Then, I did my genogram – looking three generations back on both sides.
Taking notes on the truths and the lies. Premature deaths and amazing
lives. Seeing things I was told not to look at and seeing blessings for the
first time.

Get over it – but now I can’t.
Move on – where do I go?
Be a man – I actually don’t know what that is.

There are systems in my family that cause emotional poverty
poverty of being and community that if I perpetuate will be present in my
marriage and my children…and get worse.

and if I want that to change then I need that change to begin in me.

Get over it – no, I’m going to therapy.
Move on – no, I’m going to counseling.
Be a man – okay, I’ll be like Pete, Rich, Phil, Redd, Greg, Jason, Chris,
Ray, Orlando, and David.

Strong, vulnerable, steadfast and meek to teach boys to actually become
men so they don’t stay adolescent like I was.

Yes, I am my father’s son but I’m also Our Father’s son and because of His
first begotten son, my wife and coming son will know the love his Father
and Our Father too.

So, poetry is still my release
But God is my shield
and He holds my grief
He is my refuge and retreat
When this world is too much for me

His phrases on His pages are His messages of freedom to me.
I exchange my life for His and receive His Holy Spirit
The mighty rushing wind is all I want to breathe.

See Jonathan share his words on video

For more information on Jonathan Walton and his work in NYC visit


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