“Not much like us”
“Not much like us”
By Pastor Rasheed Z. Baaith
“Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.” (Joel 1:3)
This generation of our children is completely unlike any generation that has come before. They are not separated from us just by epochs of time and season; they are separated by what we have not taught them that was taught to us.
In our desire to materialistically give them all we did not have, we have prevented many of them from appreciating what has been done by us for them to meet not just their needs but their wants. They do not value a full refrigerator because it is always full; they are not grateful for a full closet because it has always been full. They don’t think of hunger because we won’t let it be in their experience.
Many of us since our children have been born have spent unnecessary money on shoes for example. Why are we buying toddlers sneakers that cost $100.00? Then putting them on little feet that will change in size in less than a month? What do infants care about designer clothes? They treat them just like they treat clothes from K-Mart. They regurgitate on them, defecate and urinate in them and outgrow them. When it comes to these things, it ain’t about pleasing our children, it’s about pleasing ourselves.
Then we complain when their feet become adult sized and the price being asked for shoes and clothes really gets stupid. But these are the expectations we gave them. We deviated from the values our parents taught us, chief among them being, you can’t have everything you see or everything you want. We did not teach them that what Carleton Moore’s mother taught him: that when wishing won’t, work will.
We have allowed them to become technologically dependent. My daughter is an honors and advanced student in high school. She has excellent academic standing yet I find her knowledge base not nearly as broad as it should be. The primary reasons are: our school system utilizing the computer more than books; and, because they teach for the test (FCAT), and not to expand the mind. It seems to be a particular American phenomenon when it comes to education.
Korea, Finland and New Zealand, all of whom are in the top five countries in the world when it comes to education of children do not rely on the computer to induce learning. They rely on the excellence of their teachers. When I spoke to a teenager about her inability to write cursive, she let me know that all she had to do was type what she wanted and then have the computer convert her manuscript to whatever form of writing she wanted. Besides, she told me, none of her teachers ever requested cursive writing. If it was just about writing styles I wouldn’t complain but these children do not have the ability to do critical thinking. Their thinking seems to be one dimensional – they think in the moment.
It may be why theirs is a generation that does not see why going into someone’s house uninvited and having a party there while causing thousands of dollars’ worth of damage is wrong.
Still, don’t get it twisted. None of these observations is to suggest there was perfection in character in the generations coming before this one, but it is to suggest some very basic teachings about responsibility and decency have allowed this generation to evolve into a number of things that are regrettable.
We have allowed them to have sophistication but not maturity; they have a great deal of information but not empirical knowledge and have a sense of entitlement that impacts relationships at every level.
Yet there is much about them to be admired: they are less bigoted, more open to differences, less restricted by almost anything we were and redefining the world. I cannot help but wonder what the future would hold if we had taught them the reality of God and the value of morality. And, if we had believed that much of what we were given was worth passing on.
Think about it.