Westminster Bookstore

The Absolute Best In Reformed Literature...Check 'em Out!!!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Kids Are Not Alright!!

I'm back from vacation and a little bout of illness and ready to go-- so without any further interruptions--

"There is no worse screen to block out the Spirit than our own intelligence." - John Calvin

“We are like chameleons, we take our hue and the color of our moral character, from those who are around us.” - John Locke

“Parents wonder why the streams are bitter, when they themselves have poisoned the fountain.” - John Locke

Have you ever stopped to wonder what is happening with (American, in particular) kids these days? It seems to be a question on everyone's mind lately. During my time off, I spent a great deal of it in front of the tube, so I can say with some accuracy that I've never seen so many specials aired so close together and laden with urgency like I've seen of the past couple of weeks. From Dateline to Nightline, 20/20 to Tucker Carlson-they all want to know the same thing. What in the world is wrong with the youth of the day. These programs touched on everything from social to educational:

-why are kids so rude?
-are America's kids dumb?
-why are kids becoming more violent?
-why is sex so prominent among teens these days?

The easy answer to all of these questions is, of course, to blame society. After all, it is society that pumps there head full of this garbage, right? These poor innocent children are being bombarded on every side by a culture that is morally corrupt...

However there are other questions that need to be asked before we can just point the finger at society with reckless abandon. Who makes up society? Society is not an entity in and of itself, after all; it is made up of people. People like you and me. And if something doesn't have a market it doesn't sell. So to haphazardly blame the "smut-peddlers" of the world won't suffice either. We have to go to the root of the problem. You can never treat the ailment without first identifying the problem. Corruption starts at the root. Children are offspring. Therefore, all of these investigative journalistic efforts fall short because they haven't traced the problem back far enough. Society first needs to look at the parenting of the kids and the methods employed therein.

"What exactly are we teaching kids these days?" is a special that I would like to see. Kids are being brought up in an egalitarianism nightmare. They are being taught that they can be anything that they want to be and that they can do anything that they want to do. If they just believe it, if they just meditate on it long enough it will happen. They are taught to do whatever makes them happy. Regardless of what anyone else thinks, believe in yourself. Then to top it all off we send them out into the world telling them to be good and do the right thing. But there's a problem. After all is said and done we have left them with no center. They have no standard by which to judge right and wrong, good or bad other than themselves. Seeing as how this is obviously what we the adults believe as well because we teach it to them unapologetically, they turn, watch and mimic. Seeing variation from person to person in the way of moral ethics, the children to now look inward. The right thing quickly becomes what is right in their own eyes. Objective learning (school) falls by the wayside as well, due to the abrasive egotism that runs free with this line of thinking. It serves no purpose because it's not in the now and does not, in their view affect them personally.

Failing to realize that we ourselves are self-serving, self-worshiping idol factories apart from the knowledge of God, we produce man in our own image--our own little idol factories--in the form of our children. Looking to self and the overall good of mankind will only make the problem worse. Man doesn't seek good for anyone but himself apart from God, thus missing the mark on the purpose for which he was created. This was the mistake in the garden of Eden; when Adam and Eve sought to create sufficiency (ultimately leading to self-worship), it sent them and there posterity on a downhill skid.

I am not making these statements from inside of a vacuum. I happen to work in the public school district. When we were studying the pilgrims during Thanksgiving holidays, the children inquired about the Mayflower Compact and why it was necessary. I told them that it was need to keep some sort of common law between the people, as to what was expected of them in the way of conduct. I also explained further that the pilgrims were not the first group of people who tried to establish themselves in the "new world", but that the others had perished due largely to the fact that there was no order or absolute which to judge the new society. This ultimately resulted in chaos and death. I then followed this up with the question:

What would you guys do, if you came to school tomorrow and found out that there were no more principals and that you were allowed to govern yourselves anyway you saw fit?

The answers were appalling. Even from kids that would not be considered to be behavior problems. It was like they had been waiting for someone to ask them the question. Normally, getting the majority of these kids engage in class participation is like pulling teeth. But on this day they couldn't what to share what they would do if they "ruled the world". I want to share some of these answers with you. While you read, please keep in mind that these are elementary school kids:

-Burn down the school
-Beat up/kill a fellow student or teacher
-Steal various items from the school
-Eat all of the snacks in the cafeteria (not sharing with the others)
-Curse out the teacher
-Push a TV down a flight of stairs on top of another student; because it would be fun (my personal fave)
-Steal a bus
-Bring a gun to school

I did this little exercise with four different classes ranging from 1st to 4th grade. Keep in mind that practically everything on this list is felony criminal act, regardless of the state you live in. When I tried to show them that this behavior wasn't constructive and would ultimately lead to their demise, they didn't seem to care. As they put it, "So what, I would get to do whatever I wanted".

Aaah, out of the mouths of babes!!! They are only imitating the behavior and the philosophy that has been passed down to them. One which is completely devoid of the statutes of an almighty Creator God, who made them known to us through his son Jesus, and left to be filled in with humanistic jargon and rhetoric. Parents who fail in raising their children in the ways of God ultimately fail to raise their beloved children at all turning them over to the public and civil magistrates (as well as the media) to gauge the moral compass of their souls. But as John Locke so aptly states,

"The care of souls cannot belong to the civil magistrate."

It is the unhealthy view of self (not seeing ourselves for the sinners we are) that leads to unhealthy children. Remember parents and all those who are the overseers of children:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom...

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." -Deutoronomy 6:4-8 (ESV)

"Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, You delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart." -Psalms 51:4-6 (ESV)

"For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding." -Proverbs 2:6 (ESV)

"Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil." -Proverbs 3:7 (ESV)

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." -Proverbs 9:10 (ESV)

Soli Deo Gloria,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like your topic Shon. I agree that what is going on with kids does start @ the home level. Everything these kids come up with is learned behavior from somewhere and that somewhere is usually home and the parents. I would also add that we as educators in many realms are failing our kids. I include myself in this grouping even though I don't work in the education system per se, having been a leader and business operator with daily interaction to some of our youth, I frequently found myself in positions where I might be able to "educate" these youngsters on a number of issues. I believe that any of us who are leaders in our respective communities owes it to our children and ourselves to take more responsibility with our youth and be better role models and teachers. I'm also tired of hearing people tell children that they can do and be anything they want to be in life if they put their mind to it. Honestly, not only is this unrealistic, but we tell kids this then we routinely fail to give children the proper tools and skills needed to succeed. Everyone cannot be anything they want to be. We need to start teaching and preparing these kids for real life.

Facebook Badge