When I was young, we constantly heard from our elders “When I was your age…. Wait till you are my age”. At that time, we didn’t place much stock in those words. We felt we knew better. Knowledge was increasing and previous generations had not kept up. What we didn’t understand was that there is a vast difference between knowledge and wisdom. We might have had more knowledge in some areas than our elders did, but we lacked the experience and understanding that would lead to wisdom.
Unfortunately, I see the same thing happening in the current generation. We created a generational disconnect, and unfortunately, passed it on to our children who now, essentially run everything!
While we have this unfortunate attitude in common, there are many things that we do not. Our generation wanted to change the world. We wanted to make a difference. We wanted our lives to matter. We protested, demonstrated, hooked up, and dropped out of the establishment. We created some upheaval in our day, but there was very little lasting change.
One thing we inherited from the previous generation (those who went through the great depression, and fought WW2), was the desire to give our children everything we ourselves didn’t have. This has turned out to be an unfortunate mistake. Frankly, our parents semi-spoiled us, and we in turn spoiled our children!
Every generation has its heroes- those who put the greater good above their own needs and desires. They are the men and women who answered the call during and after 9-11. The vast difference I see is in the numbers. The WW2 generation ALL stepped up to the plate to defeat the Nazi reign of terror. They sacrificed and went without. Many went overseas and never came home. That generation learned to war against evil, against poverty, and against hardship. They were, for the most part, victorious. They also, for the most part, prayed and believed in God. My generation half-heartedly fought in Vietnam, but whole-heartedly fought against racism and for social reform. We were only successful in part. A lot less of us prayed and believed in God. We kicked God out of school and legalized abortion.
I have asked some millennials what they are looking for: what they want out of life- what is important to them. In a nut-shell, they want to be successful at work, and happy. They don’t give much thought to the greater good. They aren’t interested in changing the world. They’ve grown up being given everything, and expect that life will continue to give them what they want. Except for a minority, they haven’t learned to war or contend. They don’t know the meaning of endurance or commitment. They don’t know why they should sacrifice for another’s welfare.
I hate to admit it, but our generation’s greatest failure was not in that we didn’t sustain some of the advances we made, but we failed to properly train up our children. God’s design was for the family: mother, father, and extended family training up the children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians says “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Eph 6:4, NASB) Most young people I speak to today don’t have a clue what the Bible has to say on most subjects. Proverbs 22:6 states: “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (NASB)
Just in case you don’t think this younger generation should have to learn to fight, here’s what Judges 3 says: “Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to test Israel by them (that is, all who had not experienced any of the wars of Canaan; only in order that the generations of the sons of Israel might be taught war, those who had not experienced it formerly). These nations are: the five lords of the Philistines and all the Canaanites and the Sidonians and the Hivites who lived in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon as far as Lebo-hamath. They were for testing Israel, to find out if they would obey the commandments of the LORD, which He had commanded their fathers through Moses.” (Judges 3:1-4, NASB)
Listen to the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22-23, NASB). Where is the patience, the faithfulness, the self-control in this generation? Feelings reign supreme, and they want what they want now.
Millennials see nothing wrong with sleeping around, and yet they are surprised when their partner cheats on them. God himself designed marriage between a man and a woman, but today, it’s ok to change that definition. The Bible speaks volumes about the shedding of innocent blood, but abortions for the sake of convenience continue.
Marriages fail when they should not because the “feelings” are gone. Vampires and Zombies are romanticized instead of being seen through spiritual eyes for the demons that they are. Employers struggle to find hard-working employees because young people were never taught the value of hard work. Half of the USA is living on government hand-outs, and believe they are entitled to more.
My generation tried through our own strength and logic to make a better world for our children, but in doing so we neglected that better part. God designed us. He wrote a handbook that if followed, would help us, His creation, avoid a lot of trouble, but we didn’t bother to follow it, nor did we teach it to our children. Now we are paying the price. God, forgive us, and show us the way!