(originally published April 16, 2009)
When I was a kid, we spent most of our time outside playing...something. Riding bikes, playing ball, walking, running, performing dramatic vignettes, or finding clues in twigs, among other activities. Imagination, strategy, and fresh air were the mainstay of life then.
And then....the incredible technology age came along, with chatter, Twitter, and pics, texting and more. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to guess that that isn't very good.
Kids today aren't on "friendship" sites to get help with their math homework or discourse on all things philosophical. They're basically trying to make a mark, to be somebody, or to impress somebody, all without having done a damn thing to actually earn the attention.
But why should they? Look at what they see on television: reality show after reality show where people get "famous" for behaving badly and creating nothing of value or beauty.
That's where kids get the idea that "outrageous" is more important than goodness, patience, commitment to a goal, and values beyond their own immediate "fantasy" gratification. I don't know how you parents can shield your children from this "Pinocchio Island," which ultimately degenerates the value of living and giving to merely depraved acting out. Removing all TVs and never going to the movies might be a start - maybe the Amish have it right in that regard. They have long held that so-called "modern" advances don't necessarily advance the human spirit.
It breaks my heart to hear all the stories each day of children and young adults who, in a rush to feel the power of adulthood freedom, don't get the matched message of responsibility and nobility. Religion in this country is breaking down as people go to Christmas services or Passover dinners as mostly a yearly reunion, as opposed to a daily profound observance. Families are breaking down with "shack-up," out-of-wedlock children lost in a morass of adult yearnings for easy intimacy. And so it goes.
Do I sound negative? You bet. I am worried. I am heartened by the emails and calls from families struggling in the midst of all this societal turmoil, which has robbed them of the support and respect they so dearly need to help their children find a good and righteous path in life. My heart goes out to them, and, hopefully, there will be more like them.