Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Broken Generation

I observe that my generation has a major problem. It's an issue that has seeped from the generations before us and wiggled it's way through the doors of our homes. It is a broken and twisted worldview. I don't believe that I see the world perfectly. There is no one perfect besides Jesus, but I do believe that perhaps I am not the only one who sees what I have unfortunately noticed. 

Americans in their teens and twenties are now known as "the dumbest generation." Yes, the most unintelligent. With the overflowing, abundant access to technology, young adults are able to glide effortlessly into complete laziness and ignorance. The days of having to know anything is virtuously over as we all simply can type whatever we want to know into a search engine. Just "google it." Internet and technology are amazingly wonderful things... don't hear me wrong! If it hadn't have been for Skype and Facebook, my husband and I would not be where we are now as he was far away from me for most of our courting relationship. Yet, the addicted obsession with the squares and rectangles that are our windows into any part of the world we want are also dangerous. They may be sapping us of our strength. 


Ask a random twenty-five year old American male or female "what was the attack on Pearl Harbor?" More times than not, you will receive a blank stare. 


So, what are my generations issues? And let me go a step further and say, what is our issues as Christian American young people? Here is a list that I have created from my opinion. There are more, I'm sure, but these came to my mind.


1. They can't spell. (I am relying on spellcheck now even as I type this blog! Heven fobide we try to remember any thing from thos speeling lesons so many years ago in skool.) But really, this isn't that big of a deal, but for me it's just one of those nagging things that prove how far we've fallen over the years. 


2. They don't read. Ask a teenager if they ever read "for fun." Many (not all) will say, "Are you kidding?" I have heard them say one too many times, "I'll wait on the movie and if there isn't a movie... then who cares?" 



3. Too many video games and movies. This one gets me some evil stares. Video games aren't bad in themselves (unless there is a hint of sexual immorality, impurity or greed, because these are improper for God's holy people, says Ephesians 5:3), but they can and will take over an exorbitant amount of time if allowed. Boys are especially easily entangled in addictions to video games which can last into the adult years. Video games can be fun and exciting, but lets be honest, most twenty-year-old men aren't playing the happy, go-lucky stuff; they are playing the gory, violent, desensitizing games. Suddenly, young men are so accustomed to the adrenaline and thrill of the games that life can become a hunt for the next thrilling moment of a "feel good" hormone. And movies... they are our "go to" thing to do when we feel the least bit bored. They are our escape from reality. But have we thought to consider that perhaps most popular movies these days paint the world in a way that leads young people to believe that it is something that it isn't? 

4. The belief that lying is acceptable. I wouldn't have added this to my list even a few months ago, but I can't overlook the epidemic of chronic lying. Even adults in churches! I would have to say that most would consider their lies "white lies", but really? Lies are lies. It's easy and safe, but let us not forget: "what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive." 

5. No direction. What is worse than no direction? Not wanting to find one. There was a time when young people thought ahead and planned with earnest longing for a bright future. For many, the word "education" comes to mind. College. But, a direction for the future doesn't have to involve college. Let me say something radical, "College isn't for everyone!" How many college graduates walk into the world of jobs and find that there isn't a job that is suited perfectly for what they specialized in? Many find themselves at a job that they could have gotten right after high school and lived without a huge student loan. Direction comes in many shapes and sizes, but for too many, direction is too lofty a goal. Or perhaps it isn't so lofty, but it takes work. And work isn't popular.



6. Lack of parental encouragement and guidance. For years now we have believed the lie that children need to "find" themselves and don't really need all that much direction. There is a reason why God designed for children to come from parents, because they do need direction! They aren't wise enough at 3-years-old to decide whether or not eating vegetables is a good idea! To a 3-year-old, of course it's not a good idea! Sugar is a much better plan! They only see what is around them and what feels good. Long-term consequences are completely unconsidered. Children really aren't "picky eaters", they are spoiled. How do I have the audacity to say such a thing? Because I have seen children starving to death and they would have cried with gratitude if I had handed them bowls of spinach and broccoli. I realize that we all have things that we really don't like. I don't like shrimp, at all! But I would eat it if that was all I had! 

7. Overabundance of parental guidance. I am not schizophrenic! I know I just said that lack of parental guidance has caused some of this generations issues, but I also believe that too much has caused problems as well! We all know parents who do and plan everything for their children. Children want and need to know how it feels to have the pressure and responsibility of making decisions for themselves! Thus when they are grown they won't feel overwhelmed with each decision that is set before them. 

8. Lost the joy of learning. This is truly heartbreaking. I don't know how many late summer days I was in the grocery store with mom and the cashier said, "Oh, don't you just wish summer lasted forever? Are you dreading school?" My response was usually, "No, I like school." I was homeschooled, so my school days were drastically different from other children who spent the majority of their days in the schoolhouses. My mom told me countless times, "I want you to enjoy learning. It doesn't end when you're handed a high school diploma or even a college diploma... it lasts forever. Learning is a gift for a lifetime." Too many children are brainwashed with the philosophies that learning is hard and that school is something to dread. And maybe for some maybe it is, but it shouldn't be. I really believe that homeschooling made all of the difference in my childhood. It is the most ancient form of learning and teaching and really the only model that we see in the Bible. 

9. Emphasis on pleasing oneself. "I just want you to be happy." We have all heard it and many of us have said it. It makes perfect sense to say this if you don't believe in God, because there really is no one to please except for yourself. If it's just you and me on this planet then I am going to make sure that I am taken care of! Survival of the fittest! But if we believe that life is about more than just us and there is a God to serve and please, than it isn't about just being "happy." It's okay to be frustrated, hurt, sad, broken, burdened and disappointed. God uses all of these things to make us more like Him. Being happy is good, but it just can't be our goal. Young people (any people) who are taught to pursue "happiness" are set up for a life of chasing after instant and temporary gratifications that only seep out of the aching hole in their hearts. 




10. They don't know Jesus. So, I went from "spelling" to Jesus. But how could I not finish on the One who knows all and loves all? When it comes right down to it, Jesus is who we need. Many Christian teens and young adults believe that they know Him, but I am afraid that He doesn't know many of them. I am not to judge, but He is and He says that we will know them by their fruit. Without Jesus as Savior and Lord of your life, you can't be who you could be. He is the One who fills us with the Holy Spirit and who strengthens us to overcome the other things on this list that we can and can't control. 

It seems that we are truly broken sometimes. I cringe to think of what our children and grandchildren will be like once they are raised by this generation. The good news is this: We may have been born into this time period. We may be surrounded in technology, laziness, selfishness and nonchalance, but we do not have to succumb! Read, spell, be honest, seek God's direction, serve others, learn and make sure that Jesus knows you. Though the world is broken, we don't have to be! 

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33