Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Kids These Days....

Somewhere along the timeline of my youth I had a deep conversation with myself. Someone had said something harsh and diminishing about me and my generation and it stung. Now, mind you, I’m 57 and this internal chat was going on during the wild ride of the ‘60’s. If you don’t remember it, or have not recently reviewed the history, let me remind you of a few things.

This nation was being torn apart by a string of assassinations. Thousands of soldiers were dying in southeast Asia and those coming home from that bloody war in Vietnam returned to the noise of angry protesters. College campuses were deeply shaken by protests, rioting and blood shed. Drug usage was celebrated as a means of coping and celebrating and, as a result, rock stars routinely died from over-dosing. Days-long urban riots were in the news for at least two summers. At that time, I lived in Milwaukee, inside the cordoned off zone, where soldiers patrolled in front of our apartment house. I could hear gun shots in the night all that week. The Kroger Store directly across the street from us was boarded shut and the corner on the other side of that block had a machine gun posted check-point.

Now let me return to my internal conversation. I told myself to remember what it was like to be a frightened confused kid. I firmly resolved with myself that I would hold these memories as fresh as I could into my adult life so that I would be a man of understanding and compassion for youth. I promised myself that I would avoid at all costs being someone who would flippantly brush off an entire generation with a brusque sneer of, “…kids/youth these days…”. I was determined to remember the pain I felt from those cynical and pessimistic words.

Youth these days have their own set of fears, uncertainties and questions. For example, their generation will tell the next of watching, on live TV, as 3000 souls perished on 9/11. Kids, these days, need our validation, our courage and, I think most importantly, our faith! They want to know who our God is and if our God still loves, “the little children”.

The only way they will know this is if the adults around them are a determined corps of people whose habit is blessing and not cursing the next generation. Have you read the Bible stories about the patriarchs blessing their children? Do you remember how Jesus took children in His arms, blessed them and said, “This is My Kingdom” (Matthew 19:14)?

Kids these days…are absolutely amazing!