Doce me faces voluntarem tuam quia Deus meus es tu

Tuesday, January 25, 2005
I started in on a post below about my disagreements with all the fuss about the Twixters phenomenon. To start, let me say a thing or two about myself. I'm twenty-three. I went to a public high school. I grew up Southern Baptist. I'm not ashamed by either fact; I do think that those experiences inform my views on this matter. I am also very, very single.

Having said that, there are a few things I can't defend. I can't defend thirty-somethings who make six figures and live like eighteen year olds. Friends was a great show, but that's no way to live. (Incidentally, when the show began, the characters were just out of college. The real problems for me were the later seasons, when they hit the big 3-0 and still lived like misfits.) I won't defend anyone still living in their parents' basement, Mallrats-style, without any job prospects or serious hope for advancement in life.

Having said that, and with all due respect to Tim Challies and Al Mohler, I will say that the "clueless" was perhaps too harsh a word. I do assert, however, that institutions like school and church, once counted on to help in raising strong children, have failed in the last few decades to produce mature young adults. It's hard to know where to start with specific examples. Let's try a few:

- Sports. Sure, if you're a starter on the high school football team, you have to play hard. But for every town full of sports fanatics, there's another league full of young men and women who aren't taught to compete. They're taught to have fun. Winning and losing don't matter; it's about a good time.

- There has been much written about the spiritually immaturity of many of evangelical youth groups. While my own experience in high school was pretty good, it's fair to say that many leave for college spiritually immature. If the soul is immature, it often follows that the intellect and emotions are as well. I realize there are exceptions, but I am speaking here in general. For more on this topic, see Michael Spencer's invaluable Internet Monk site.

- Many schools, most notably public schools, have been awash with outcome-based nonsense for a long time. That doesn't lead to mature children. Look, we're not challenged in school anymore. There is little adversity in the classroom, and with Title IX fanatics running around, there's less and less on the field or the court. It's made us soft.

- Certainly we can blame the media here, as well, but somebody bought all the televisions and Playstations. (Mmmm....Playstation...) And it usually isn't the nine-year-old whipping out the American Express.

- Revisiting the point about school: look at college. It is nearly impossible to get a job nowadays with simply a B.A. in any liberal arts. If you're into business or engineering, you need some graduate work or else you hit the financial ceiling pretty quick. The point there is that it's not always easy to get married out of college, what with all your friends moving here and there to go to grad school, med school, law school or chase the MBA. Our lives are more mobile than before. Further on this point, a problem arises in this area when high schools do not adequately challenge students. Many, many students enter college with little idea about the direction they want their life to take. These decisions cannot be made in a vacuum. A tougher, yet broader, high school curriculum would force students to work hard while exploring wide areas of interest. Thus, talents and skills are revealed so that they might be tuned more finely in college. Otherwise, and I would argue this is the case; students spend more time in college trying to figure things out. Of course, colleges are often so bent on letting students be "free" that they present no boundaries. Consequently students are free to just muddle along for four or five or six years before being handed a diploma, all the while clueless about what's going to happen next. I'm not trying to suggest we give the Dean a copy of our life's ambitions, but again, a better-refined environment would produce students with a bit more maturity.

I'm not trying to make excuses; our society is full of people who are shunning marriage and any sign of a mature life. I agree very much with Dr. Mohler's assertion that this lifestyle is dangerous to the fabric of society. At the same time, as a member of this generation, I have seen in the lives of friends and colleagues (not myself, thankfully) the outcome of this institutional failure. I am not saying this behavior is justified at all; I am simply trying to establish that there are many root causes for this behavior. It often seems that many forget this.

A closing example. When this story came out, Rush took this story and ran with it, in all the predictable directions. The whole rant was pretty boring, so I turned it off. Today Rush reads a story about parents who are learning that their kids are disrespectful, and perhaps the practice of spanking should come back into play. (Was it ever out of vogue? My parents didn't get that memo) Rush then bemoaned the lack of discipline in today's youth. Well, good heavens! Could he not put two and two together? He gripes that today's kids are not well behaved and properly mannered, then gripes that they grow up to be immature. I would expect more of the Maha-Rushie; you'd think he could connect the dots.

So that's that. My feeble attempt to defend the slacker generation. Questions? Comments? Holla at me. I'll talk about it a bit more, but suffice to say, our education system needs some work and some parents need to step up their game.
5:45 PM :: ::
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