Monday, January 12, 2009

Kids and Today's Society

After much thought and consideration, I have concluded that the responsibility of how the youth of today have become, falls in a few different places. It's not a cut/dry issue. But it is definitive of an entire generation. Even the good kids, from good families, exhibit attitudes, if not behaviors, of their peers. And I fully believe it's because it's the world they live in. No amount of parenting can change the far-reaching influences they are bombarded with. We cannot fully shelter them away from the world. Nor, do I think we completely would want to. But that's a completely different subject. I would lay the responsibility at the feet of the following,

•1. Parents
•2. Liberalism
•3. the Church

First, and foremost, the responsibility falls on the parents. Regardless of other influences, parents still need to parent. The kids today have been raised by adults that were latchkey kids. They either had two parents working to pay for a higher level of living than they had growing up, or they had a struggling single parent that was caught in the perpetual merry-go-round of increasing costs of goods and services because business skyrocketed because people expect more and have the money to pay it. The former household wanted to be known as part of the best, the cream of the crop. They want to be seen by their peers as successful and everything in their home and family needs to fit that definition at all costs. The latter worries about paying bills and the guilt of not being able to provide the kids with the now average things most kids have. In both types of households, the parents do not want their kids being left out, being different, causing them to suffer possible self-esteem issues. To finish the perfect picture to these families, their children are also to be seen as successful. When they do something wrong, taking responsibility for their actions is not taught anymore. Responsibility requires admission. Responsibility requires ethics. Responsibilities required contrition. None of these things fit into the mold of providing the picture of a successful family. Look at who our kids look up to as heroes these days. Mostly, it's professional athletes. And many of them have been men that were raised in the current no right or wrong culture and no responsibility and suddenly they are provided a lifestyle of fame and extreme fortune. We would like to think that would give them what they have been lacking and they could live a good and upstanding life. But more often than not, they are getting into legal troubles, much like the poor, urban kids they used to be. When children are not taught to take responsibility, a symptom to that is created, entitlement. Entitlement expects things to be handed over without the worry of failure or judgment. With the outcome not in question, the next casualty of virtue is work ethics. In our attempt to have the best and be perceived as successful, we have become a society that is completely entrenched in celebrities and the manner in which they live. We have become a society of expecting the finer things of life without the sense to realize that all things are not fair in life. The self-absorption into the world of "having" quickly becomes an addiction. One I truly believe is just as gripping and difficult to break. One that has those in its grips completely unaware of and in denial.

Thanks to the socialistic direction that this country has been taking for the past 30 years, we now have two generations that feel all things should be fair, aka evenly distributed. Those without the means should be helped to live in a manner they cannot achieve on their own. Those with the most money should be forced to distribute the money they worked for to people that do not have the education, or even possibly, the desire, to acquire the types of jobs that pay well. In their "perfect" world, a janitor should get to live the same as an engineer. Not that one job is any better than another. Both are equally necessary. But the required time and education it takes for one is out of proportion to the other. It is the major reason for the current economic crash this country, and the entire world, has experienced. Making home ownership more available to the lower-economic rungs was the motivation behind the creation of subprime lending. The same basic philosophy is in the auto industry, it's called leasing. Lower monthly payments and less paying down of a principle, letting those that cannot afford the traditional payment plans to afford to drive nice, new cars and live in bigger, more expensive homes than their salaries would support in traditional loans. In both scenarios the ultimate goals are not to own those items. It is simply to have and use those items. Our current judicial system and government has little by little whittled away at the things that defined various groups of people in this country. They have diluted the line and definition of right and wrong. Those that break the law are allowed to live in such conditions that would be desirable for many households on the outside. They are allowed resources in frivolous court cases, as well as full educations, all at the taxpayers' expense. They have diluted the line between the haves and have not's.

All of this has permeated not only those families not taught morals anymore, but Christian homes. And the Church is failing to secure its place in our current society. For so many decades, the Church has been defined by denominations. Each denomination has their particular list of rules and guidelines that can be defined only by their particular boundaries. Each has interpretations of Scripture to support their teachings. And many have relied on those rules and boundaries as much and more in their teachings, and more importantly, in their measurement and judgment of each other and those outside their walls. They have raised families to look at everyone in judgment. They have raised families to judge themselves not by God's love, but by the rules of the Church. And that can only beget arrogance or self-loathing and guilt. When the Church cannot show that it has relevance in a true and workable application in a culture that prevails today, it shrivels, becomes shallow and does not teach another viewpoint or reason to live any differently than the current culture. In fact, it simply supports an argument for a reason to look elsewhere for happiness. One that is much more self-motivated.

I don't know what will need to happen to turn our society around again. Unfortunately, it often takes catastrophic happenings to change current tides. But, if this is not a time of catastrophic happenings, I would hate to see what more it would need to include. We have come through hard times economically in the past. We have come through hard times politically. And we have come through hard times socially. We are not really in anything new that we haven't been before, but we must stop and ponder and find reasonable priorities for new values, new ethics, new heroes and a much wiser world.

Friday, January 9, 2009

My first blog


I guess I should tell you a bit about myself to start this blog thing off. After all, this is all about my thoughts and opinions on everyday stuff. I said this is about the “middles”. My life started and has been lived there.

Looking back, I realize that understanding of the world around me came slowly to me. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my people skills and knowledge of the things going on around me was a slow, melting evolution. I’m not saying I have arrived at complete enlightenment, but as the old song goes, “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone.” But even that is only on certain days. A lack of sun where I live plays a big part in that somehow.

Friends are priceless to me. The ones that love me regardless of a difference in opinion and can handle that I’m discovering the real me at the age of----well, lets just say at my age----and can still accept me are my closest. I’m not about collecting friends. I abhor shallow, surface relationships and I have found I have a voice. Those friends have encouraged me to let more people see my writings and ramblings. So, to prove that age hasn’t completely claimed me yet, this is my “stepping out”. And I’ll leave it at that for now.