So many events over the past few weeks have reminded us all that life is uncertain and that life is hard to explain. The shootings in Florida, the young toddler pulled into a lagoon, and the wildfires out in the west to name a very few. On Facebook I read of friends who have parents, kids, or friends who are suffering or have died. Hatred seems to be running rampant and people go out of their way to be offended. Fear has raised its ugly head and is making inroads into our culture. I hate that my teens have to be taught about things I never knew existed until I was an adult.
Our teens (and younger) are on social media. They see the news and they are often scared. They ask, “Why would someone walk into a bar and kill so many people?” And they read the comments of other adults when a news story hits and they ask, “Why, momma, are people so mean to each other? This family just lost their little kid and others are blaming them. Do you think those fires will spread to us?”
When my children were little they asked a million questions a day and I liked that because it showed they were growing and thinking about their world. The answers were often easily explained. Why do lightening bugs glow? Who made the stars? Why is blue, blue? As they grow they continue to ask questions. The kids/young adults are trying to figure out their word. But the answers are no longer so easy. How do I explain why it might not make sense to go to college full time and rack up debts? How do I explain that we can no longer joke or give compliments because someone will get offended? How can I teach them to stand up for their beliefs in a country determined to deny God?
When we were growing up we knew who the bad guys were. We knew to come in at night or be in danger. We knew that sex led to pregnancy and that having a child was not the same as buying a new toy. Bullies were few and far between because we knew how to take care of them on the playground. Friends were really friends and not just a name added to a list on a device. We played with them and went over to their homes. We didn’t have eight million of them – just a select few who were true. Athletics did not encompass every hour of every day. We never had practice/games on Sundays or Wednesday nights – that was reserved for worship. We were not afraid to say the wrong thing in public and I guarantee that I would never have told my dad that I was going to turn him in to Child Protective Services. Rape, abortion, and murder were not topics of discussion for the supper table. Momma and daddy did not discuss adult things with us. Adults were in charge and that made us feel safe.
Our world was not perfect – far from it, but there was a sense of community and family. And loyalty to our country. I have my own questions. What has happened to patriotism? Why do we let drug addicts, the offended, and foreigners stomp on our beliefs and on our flag? Why do we think we can stand strong without God as our center? Why have we become so self-centered that we no longer care about what happens to our neighbors, families, and friends? Why have we tossed aside the Golden Rule?
Be kind to others. Treat others how you want to be treated. Give grace as much as possible. Just reinstating this one little value back into our culture would be a great start. Maybe it is too simple. Every race could do it. Every religion could do it. Every nationality could do it. Every family could do it. Every individual could do it. Treat others how you want to be treated. One person at a time we could change the world and the answers might turn from frightening to enlightening.
“Why momma did that woman pay for our lunch?”
“Momma, do you think I could give some of my things to kids who don’t have as much?”
“Momma, can we take ice cream to the old lady down the street?”
“Momma, let me do the dishes tonight.”
OK, maybe I am stretching it a little bit, but hey, you never know.
The Golden Rule could be infectious and cause mass disruption to a culture filled with fear and doubt. Doesn’t cost us anything to try it and the teens might even give it a whirl.