Generational Forgetting and the New Normal

Early this morning, while I was still laying in bed, I read this tweet from the Center for Parent and Youth Understanding – “What our kids are losing, very quickly, is an inheritance of history, legacy, and wisdom from prior generations.”

I didn’t think much of it in the moment, other than saying to myself, “this is probably true.”  However, when I read the below article, the reality of the tweet sunk in – not in a theoretical way, but in a real, urgent way.

http://college.usatoday.com/2015/09/01/study-daily-marijuana-use-among-college-students-at-highest-rate-in-35-years/

Generational Forgetting is the ignorance of the younger generation to the history, good and bad, of those who came before them.  Perhaps this ignorance is the result of youthful rebellion, or the falsely celebrated need to “make my own way” in the world…or perhaps it is the older generation’s neglect to show and teach the reality and truth of what happened in the years before these young folks were born.  Whatever it is, we now have a problem.

Yes, the moral boundaries of today’s pop-culture don’t really exist.  If you watched the recently held MTV Video Music Awards, this new normal played out in a spectacularly depressing way.  Miley Cyrus, the poster child for sexual fluidity and boundary breaking behavior, paraded around the stage basically nude, and at one point even lead the crowd to repeatedly chant the word, “marijuana.”  It’s no wonder the research in the above article shows that pot use among college students is at it’s highest rate in 35 years!

We cannot blur boundaries any longer.  We cannot protect our kids from the harm we and others did to ourselves in the past.  We must be real about the cause, effect, and above all, the grace of God alone to deliver us from the sin and death we once found ourselves living in.

As Jesus told the crowds in Luke 13, “make every effort to enter through the narrow door…”  By definition, the narrow door is difficult to enter and only able to let in a few at a time…and our effort should be to show the next generation that though the door is narrow and difficult to enter, what is on the other side is far better than the wide road fo sin and self-destruction.

In all things, balance love, patience, and truth.  The gospel is amazing!  Don’t be afraid to speak it and live it.

Matt

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A Warning Against Coddling

Walt Mueller of the Center for Parent and Youth Understanding is a wise man.  Listen to this 60 second sound bite in which he gives a warning against coddling our kids and the possible long-term effects it is causing:

http://www.cpyu.org/resource/college-students-and-anxiety/

Be wise, patient, and loving.  Try to communicate love and encouragement while pointing your kids to Christ, not to themselves.  Discipline them when they need it, stand up for them when they need it, and provide conversation about the good and bad in life.  We want to see you kids grow up into life-long disciples of Christ, and that takes long-term vision.  What causes grief now might instill confidence later.

Matt

Liar, Liar…Pants on Fire

I remember being exceptionally adept at lying when I was young.  I think my peak performances were in my younger teenage years…maybe around ages 12-16.  Whether I lied about being sick to get out of school, the homework assignment I “did,” or the leftover pizza that went missing over night, I lied a lot and my parents didn’t seem to be catching on.

Looking back, most of my lies were out of self-interest – in order to get what i wanted or to get out of trouble.  I don’t remember lying for fun or mischief.  It seems innocent enough – sure, what kid doesn’t lie to keep from getting grounded?  However, when my son was born, the effects of my lying days rippled through time and struck me when I wasn’t expecting it.  Yes, I was self-interested as a teen…but I was never really cured of that habit and mindset.  Caring for Jack was a punch in the gut – my selfishness was highlighted in bright, bold color for me and the whole world to see.  My selfish endeavors as a kid created a pattern of selfishness that I never really broke, or even realized I had, until it was time to put someone else first (my wife may have noticed long before I did).

Here’s an article with some research about teens and lying:

http://www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/people/teens-tell-the-most-lies-study-1.1894584#.VdMu6SxVikp

Lying is never cute.  It is never acceptable.  We can expect it from young people, but we should encourage open environments, integrity, and love for one another.  Lying is selfish.  The gospel is self-sacrificing.  I challenge all of us, especially myself, to model and teach this to our kids.

Matt

Friendship Turnover

I want to say this is a newer rhythm in adolescent life.  Of course, I am still close with many of the friends i made in middle and high school.  However, as I think about it, I only have one close friendship still maintained from 5th grade, a couple from 6th-8th, and a few from high school.  So, am I an outlier, am I misrembering my teenage years, or is this new social media world contributing to friendship turnover?

This article speaks about research concerning teenage friendships:

http://scienceblog.com/79357/adolescent-friendship-study-confirms-birds-feather-flock-stay-together/#yYFFptxmOXZymkmy.97

Stability is important.  With the ever changing social landscape of the teenager – in friendships, media, sports – we must find places for stable expectation and experience.  Make your home a place of love and comfort, to provide respite from the crazy world of your teenager.  But most importantly, speak and live the gospel to your teenager.  Show them there is an unchanging God who loves them enough to have come and die for them.  This truth is truly everlasting, stable, and comforting.

Matt

Be a Mean Parent

OK, the title of this post is a little misleading.  Don’t take me the wrong way.  I’m not advocating being an ACTUAL mean or bad parent.  However, I know all parents have been accused of being “mean” by their kids.  Example:  Parent – “no, you can’t have ice cream for dinner.”  Child – “you’re so mean!”

It’s time to END the entitlement culture of the upcoming generation.  Parents, it starts with you.  Read the article below.  Yes, it focuses on the practical steps to helping kids become grateful instead of entitled…but it isn’t just our actions towards our kids, but our own attitudes and words.

numbers 4 and 5 are particularly poignant.

http://www.howdoesshe.com/how-mean-parents-raise-grateful-kids-5-things-to-stop-doing/

For Christians, we have been given every good gift in Jesus.  He is enough.   I don’t mean that when we follow Christ we get abundance.  I mean that when we follow Christ WE GET CHRIST!  And that is all we need.

Matt

Heroine is Here

During my second week on the Cape, my wife and I went down to Harwichport to walk around in the cold of late winter.  We stopped in a store that sold decorative nick-nacks.  We were the only customers, so we got to chat with the owner for about 15 minutes.  I told him I was a youth pastor in Brewster.  The first thing he said to me was, “Good for you.  You know, these kids are dealing with a lot of drug problems.  It starts with the pills but then they can’t afford the pills so they move to heroine.”  I can’t over emphasize it…This was the first thing he said to me when he found out i work with teenagers.  Addiction, specifically to pills and heroine.

Parents, please don’t be naive.  Please don’t think, “My kid would never…”  Maybe they aren’t using.  Maybe they never will.  But be attentive, and be careful about what prescriptions you have around the house.

This article from The Cape Cod Times speaks about the local problem, but comments on data from a nation-wide study conducted by the CDC from 2002-2013.  It’s more than worth a read:

http://www.capecodtimes.com/article/20150708/NEWS/150709409

Please talk with your kids.  Your attitudes, behaviors, and concerns will do more to help your kids then I will ever be able to do.  Be rooted in love, grounded in God’s word, and full of compassion.

Matt

A Word of Encouragement and a Word of Challenge

Parents, if you are rooted in God’s word you will have a leg-up on the rest of our culture.  Listen to this short clip of CPYU’s Walt Mueller talking about the importance of parenting rooted in scripture:

http://www.cpyu.org/resource/parenting-and-gods-word/

Now a challenge.  Are your kids taking the place of God in your hear?  Specifically, are your kid’s sports become an idol for you AND your family?  Listen again to Walt Mueller in this 1 minute audio clip:

http://www.cpyu.org/resource/sports-parenting/

Are sports taking away from your child’s spiritual development?  Is soccer taking the place of church or youth group?  Is youth group a less important activity than baseball?  Maybe i’m biased, but the real heart of my question is – are you prioritizing sports over faith?

Think about it.

Matt