Easy? No. Kids today do not have it easy.

I did a segment about bullying a few days ago. This conversation — like any conversation that centers around the youth of today — prompted a bunch of emails claiming that kids these days are pampered and “soft.” Kids “have it too easy,” they say. I’ve heard this claim a thousand times, and every time I’m disturbed by it.

For some reason, I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit over the last couple of days. Do kids really “have it easy”? I’ve always thought this attitude is flawed and dangerous, but I couldn’t put my finger on why, exactly. Everybody seems so confident that it’s ‘easy’ to be a kid in this country, so why aren’t I reassured when I look at my own children? Why do I fear for them so deeply if they are blessed to be born into these ‘easy’ times?

I mean, it seems fair on the surface. Sure, kids get to sit in air conditioned living rooms and watch TV. They eat sugary cereal and drink soda. But ‘easy’? Is it easy to be a child in modern America? No, I don’t think so. They might have a bunch of cool toys, but being a child today is a dangerous proposition. And it’s made ever harder because many adults fundamentally fail to understand kids and what they go through.

You might laugh at the idea, but children have it rough in our society. Like, really, really rough. Our culture is actively hostile to them — probably more so than at any other point in history. They are born, and immediately the world pounces, pulling them in a million directions, selling them a million lies, convincing them to be a million different things — none of them good or true. We vaccinate them against every disease, buckle them into their car seats, teach them not to run near the pool, and we think we are keeping them safe. But it’s their souls that we should be especially protecting, and that’s where we often fail.

Politicians mortgage their future to pay for the luxuries of today, and millions of Americans cheer them on while they do it. Do you know what “unfunded liability” means? It means, in economic terms, “hey junior, this bill is on you, sucker!” It means we’re ordering a feast, stuffing our fat faces, and leaving our kids to pay the tab. We think kids are selfish “me first” little brats, but that title belongs to us. Look at what we’ve done to this country; we barely even give these kids a chance. Where are the people stepping up to make sacrifices today so that future generations won’t be stuck with the debt and bankruptcy caused by our extravagance? Do you hear this voice? I don’t. All I hear is “spend money on ME! NOW!” Me. Now.

Me. Now.

Me. Now.

If there are two words that will define our culture, those are it. “Kids today,” I hear the adult mutter disapprovingly. But what about adults today? The Baby Boomers are the first generation in American history to leave the country poorer than it was when they inherited it. And we call KIDS spoiled and immature?

As our children emerge into this bankrupted civilization, advertisers circle them like vultures with market-tested messaging, brilliantly crafted to turn them into depressive, shallow, materialists; never satisfied, always wanting. They are besieged by a constant barrage of conflicting, confusing directives: “BUY THIS!” “EAT THIS!” “WANT THIS!” “BE THIS!” “BELIEVE THIS!” Some of us do our best to insulate our kids from this battery of consumerism and exploitation, but we’re fighting a losing battle.

At least children in times past had the benefit of family, if not modern technology and medicine. We might have all of the gadgets and pills that our kids’ hearts can desire, but our families are disintegrating. I say, take the iPhones and the painkillers, if only our children can have actual families again. That’s a trade I’d make in a second. Our kids may not have to worry about contracting Polio, but millions of them will never know what it’s like to sit at a dinner table with both parents. Millions and millions of them born into homes filled with turmoil, anger and selfishness. Easy? I can think of a lot of words for that, but easy isn’t one of them.

Maybe I shouldn’t even use the word “children” anymore. I’m not sure what to call this new sort of human we’ve created; not old enough or wise enough to be an adult, not innocent enough to be a child. Entire generations are sent hurtling into this Limbo, and many never escape it.

Think about it. Think about how it used to work. In the old days, children were children. But then they were introduced to some of the difficult facts of life, they were taught how to process and handle it all, and they became men and women. Before the Industrial Age, generations of families lived together on the same homestead. This meant that young kids had to witness their older family members die. They watched grandpa fall asleep slowly; they were there for the backyard burial. Sickness, death, mortality — kids had to confront all of these things. Fortunately, they were instilled with faith and reverence, so they were able to put these hard, brutal concepts into proper context. When little Susie asked “why,” the adults knew the answer and they dutifully explained it to her.

Children were also introduced to work. Hard work. Meaningful work. They had to sweat and exert themselves, and they had to do it for the sake of their family.

Death, work, and mortality aren’t fun or lighthearted, but they’re a natural part of life, and when we grasp them, we begin to mature. This is how kids used to grow from innocence and naivety into responsibility and adulthood.

It often works differently nowadays. We shield kids from the difficult things. We run from anything that might carry with it the slightest suggestion of death or finitude. We don’t even let kids watch war movies or play with toy guns. We feel squeamish about bringing them to grandma’s funeral. We certainly don’t make them work or sweat or earn anything — in fact, the law forbids it. They aren’t given any real responsibilities; no weight is put on their shoulders, figuratively or literally. They are protected from the challenges of Real Life, and sometimes they stay in that protective cocoon well into their 30’s.

Yet, we haven’t succeeded in protecting their innocence. More than 50 percent of all children are exposed to hardcore pornography before the age of eleven. Eleven. By thirteen, the vast majority have seen it; many of them are full-on addicts. Meanwhile, schools are giving kids condom demonstrations, and the FDA is making sure your 15 year old daughter can get her hands on the Morning After Pill without your consent. Everywhere your child turns, he is assaulted with sex, perversion and nihilism. Your 12 year old son can sit at a computer, open a browser, punch in a few key words, and plunge right into a world of depravity, debauchery and darkness. Not only can he do this, but, statistically, he probably is. If you let him have a computer in his room and unlimited internet access on his phone, you’ve increased the odds exponentially. That’s a tragedy, because he’ll never be the same after he takes that first trip into the pornographic bowels of the internet. He’s been molested — maybe not physically, but mentally and spiritually.

So our kids are shielded from the good but hard lessons of life, while being exposed to a constant stream of sex, deviance and insanity. They have their innocence and purity ripped out of their souls, but it isn’t replaced with maturity and wisdom. Instead, toxic waste fills the void; all of these weird images — and the confusing feelings they bring to the surface — have nowhere to go, so they just bounce around in your son’s skull all day. He doesn’t know what to do with it or how to process it. Ten years later, he’s sitting across the kitchen table from Chris Hanson, trying to explain why he’s only 22 but already “bored” with healthy sexuality, so he’s moved on to violent fetishes and pedophilia.

You think I’m overstating the problem? Then you aren’t paying attention.

And what about the conversation that prompted this post? Bullying. Our kids are wrecked by bullying, and we don’t understand why. Even worse, our kids ARE bullies, and we chalk it up to a “phase,” or just “kids being kids.” Schools make rules against it, states pass laws criminalizing it, but bullying persists. According to a recent study, it actually gets worse the more we try to outlaw it. Maybe that isn’t so shocking. If laws can’t keep crack and guns out of the hands of violent felons, how could laws be expected to keep unfriendly thoughts out of the heads of pubescent middler schoolers?

We send children off to government education facilities for the majority of their formative years, and the psychological abuse they endure will leave marks on the psyche that will never wash away. We don’t understand kids, or what it means to be a kid in modern America, so we are powerless to help them. We either overreact by pushing for legislation, or we turn to psychotropic drugs, or, in some cases, we join in the mockery and tell them to just “get over it.” The answer, usually, is both simpler and more complicated: the problem isn’t the bullying itself, it’s the psychological and spiritual phenomenon that has left kids so susceptible to it.

Our children are torn from our grasp by a combination of the school system, the media, advertising, the internet, government interference, and pop culture. They begin to look to their peers, rather than their parents, for guidance and direction. They plant their roots in shallow, rocky soil, and it doesn’t take much more than a stiff wind to blow them over. They become desperate. They search for validation in the chaotic mass of confused, broken adolescents, and they never find it. “Bullying” usually doesn’t manifest itself by wedgies and spitballs, like in corny 80’s movies. Bullying — the worst and most effective kind — can be a simple glance, a rejection, a whisper. It’s your daughter reaching out to her peer for affirmation, and getting a snide look and a vicious insult in its place. It’s not the snide look and the vicious insult that’s a new phenomenon; it’s the fact that our kids are so helplessly vulnerable to it. Kids spend all day at school searching for meaning through peer approval, and now it doesn’t even end when the bell rings. They go home and paste themselves to their phones and laptops, rejecting the unconditional love from their parents in favor of “likes” and Retweets.

It’s not their fault. This is the society we built for them. We are to blame.

I know I’ve just spent several paragraphs painting a bleak picture, but it’s a picture we can’t ignore any longer. I wish I could wrap this up with a quick and easy solution. I can’t. All I can say is that we need to hold our children close. We have to give them love and point them towards God. People say you shouldn’t be too “protective.” I disagree. Be protective. Use your body as a human shield against the lies and evil that surround them. We have to show them that nothing is more important than faith and family. Nothing. Everything in the universe comes as a distant second. But we can’t really demonstrate this unless we keep our families together in the first place.

And that’s probably a good place to start.

Just don’t say that kids have it easy. Kids have never had it harder, and the least we can do is acknowledge that fact.

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224 Responses to Easy? No. Kids today do not have it easy.

  1. submommy says:

    My children are not my friends. If I treated them as such, all would be lost. They would be lost. I pray that someday we will be friends, but my job as a parent right now is to teach them, guide them, discipline them, and prepare them.

    My daughter (11) asked for a cell phone. The answer (for now) is no. She asked for an Instagram account. Again, no. Computers & tv’s are in family common areas. We eat together as a family at least 5 nights per week. She is involved in church youth group. She goes with my husband to deliver groceries to hungry families in the area. She is being shown a sense of purpose beyond what she wants in that exact second. She is being taught that popular does not equal right.

    Being a tween is hard enough without superfluous, unnecessary and unhealthy temptations and visuals in her face day in and day out.

    Kids run until they find the fence. I AM MY KIDS’ FENCE.

    • Adam says:

      Yes!!! Submommy, you nailed it! Thank you for being a parent first, I hope more can follow your example. It is nice to hear that our family is not alone.

  2. Taylor says:

    As a parent to an 8 week old, and a secondary school teacher, I just want to say, Thank You for this post! God Bless!

  3. bfajeremy says:

    I know you mean well and I agree with a lot of what you say, but it still bothers me when you put “sex” in the same sentence as things like “perversion and nihilism” or “deviance and insanity.” It just doesn’t fit. Sex is good, wonderful, and beautiful; just as much a “natural part of life” as death, work, and mortality; and, according to your belief system, sacred and chock-full of spiritual meaning. So why are you lumping it in with the worst our society has to offer? Why do you describe it as something that our kids are being “assaulted” with? The reason that schools have to give condom demonstrations and have sex-ed classes is because Christian parents (mine, for example) flatly refuse to educate their kids about sex! How in the hell is it OK to have frank discussions about death and violence and then turn around and obsessively shelter our kids from information about sex?? It’s one of the worst double standards in the church and a BIG reason why I am no longer a Christian. Parents’ and churches’ silence leaves kids fumbling for answers, with no teacher but experience, and you’ve done nothing to address the problem except pen self-righteous rants about our sex-obsessed culture! Sorry, but that’s not gonna help anybody.

    • mommyemmmy says:

      You are right that sex is good, wonderful, and beautiful; but it IS something that our children are being “assaulted with” at younger and younger ages. I completely agree that many, many Christian parents are NOT doing their job to educate their children on the beauty of sex. We need to step up and educate our children. We shouldn’t “shelter” our kids from information about sex, but the world’s message about sex is dangerous. The world says that it doesn’t matter how young you are, or how many partners you have, it’s all good as long as you have “safe” sex. Yet statistics show the dangers of this kind of thinking. Children grow up thinking that it’s not possible to abstain until marriage, that it’s crazy to even try–no wonder so few do wait! Society convinces them that they can’t! Instead of sex being a sacred union between a husband and wife, it has become a “game”. Kids don’t understand the emotional toll sex before marriage can take on a person. Sex is trivialized by being so present in the media and music. I understand your frustration with parents who won’t educate their own kids–but even those of us who do know that they will be exposed to so much corruption (porn, sexual predators, etc). Kids will not have an easy time growing up pure, and so few people even think that purity is valuable.

      • Sawyer MomofSix says:

        I kept wanting to hit the “like” button mommyemmy.

      • bfajeremy says:

        Christians don’t understand the emotional toll waiting for sex until marriage can take on a person. I’ve lived this hell. Children think it’s not possible to abstain until marriage because, with few exceptions, it’s not. It is definitely important to teach kids that sex is valuable, intimate, and should be meaningful to them rather than just a toy, but at the same time it is quite a normal part of being human; it’s a biological function and needs an outlet just like all the others. And the sooner we get rid of the notion of “purity,” the better. Even if you believe sex before marriage is a sin, just treat it like a sin that God forgives; don’t treat it like your one and only shot at a meaningful love life that you crumple up and light on fire the minute you make one sexual “mistake.” Someone’s first few times having sex will definitely be imperfect, but they are learning experiences. And when I talk about educating children about sex I’m not just talking about the “beauty” of sex (by which you mean the overspiritualization of sex); I’m talking about the mechanics of sex, and even more importantly, the practical concepts of how to find a mate, how to control your sex drive (in a realistic way), and how to avoid pitfalls like porn. The church gets nada of this. None. They think telling kids to wait until marriage and pray away the temptation is enough, and it’s clearly not.

      • btgolz says:

        bfajeremy- After more than two decades of life, I’ve managed to avoid having sex or even pursuing it, even with many of my friends now getting married and being released from that restriction- and I’m content to do without for the time being. I agree that many parents need to do a better job of giving “the talk” and definitely stop shying away from the pornography issue that they still so often shy away from addressing, but the way to correct this is not by throwing out notions of “purity”, depending on what implications you load that word with (one slip-up and being “ruined” for life vs. the general ideal of abstaining from extramarital sexual activity).

  4. Mike says:

    ——————————————————————————–

    There is a debtor’s prison provision in Obamacare. Basically what happens is this: (Wife is a book keeper and the company she works for has to deal with the accounting aspects of Obongocare.)

    If you can’t afford the insurance and take the penalty, assuming things haven’t changed in the last couple of months, then you pay as follows:

    One percent of your gross monthly income per month for year 1.
    Two percent of your gross monthly income per month for year 2.
    Three percent of your gross monthly income per month for year 3.

    For year 4, your penalty equals the cost of either a single or family health insurance policy, which by then will be over $2000/month. The government will offer several hundred dollars in subsidy based on your income, which will fall far short of the penalty. As you note in the above link, failure to pay the penalty can result in up to five years in debtor’s prison, where you get to work for an American corporation for 35 cents an hour.

    Thus, there is no longer a need to relocate factories overseas as there will be millions of slave laborers available in the U.S.

    The other part of Obama care, as others have mentioned, is that the white rich and white middle class will be forced to pay for the health care coverage of 40 million worthless blacks and another 20 million naturalized illegals. Once all the white people’s money has been confiscated, the then current democrat president will come on T.V. and state that they have tried everything possible to provide for their loser base, but the money has run out. Then the savagery starts and the elitists run underground….or something to that effect.
    __________________

    • Grace Horton says:

      When it comes to everything that is wrong with your reply, I don’t know where to even begin. First of all, no, debtors prisons are not a part of “The Affordable Care Act” (That’s what its called by the way, it was started by Conservative Republicans during the Regan era, was put on the shelf for a little while pending improvements and Obama brought it up again as an idea that for some reason the republicans, who created the idea in the first place, suddenly decided to attribute to him so they could start fighting it vehemently… which, in and of its self, doesn’t make a lot of sense to me) and even we were living in the crazy parallel dimension you insist on fabricating, where there were debtors prisons the thing would never get passed or adequately enforced. As crazy as people in this country can be (as evidence by your post) they are not crazy enough to reinstate some 18th century policy. Second, “worthless blacks” <—- ??????????????????? Do you ever listen to yourself? When did the color of someone's skin make them worthless? I really thought that we, as a nation, had gotten past this but apparently there is still a large number of scientifically illiterate people out there, so allow me to clarify. All races of humans contain HOMO SAPIEN DNA. The difference in skin color is merely a selection of different traits, traits that are no more separated from one another than hair or eye color amongst the Caucasian population. Also, the people who are living in poverty are not all black, or immigrants for that matter. In fact, a fairly good portion of that "40 million" you are referring to are white. There are plenty of high incoming earning people of different ethnicities that are effected by taxes, economics, etc… just like you are. Which is all irrelevant anyway when you recognize that humans are humans and each human life is equal. If you believe anything otherwise then you have either been given false information (in large quantities by the looks of it) or your soul is either dying or already dead. And finally, This is an article about children and bullying! Why are you even talking about The Affordable Care Act? You haven't even mentioned children once in your reply! I don't know if I should actually bother sending you sources with which you can use to adequately critique the Affordable Care Act or just skip that and instead recommend that you get serious psychological help. Right now, I'm leaning towards the latter.

      • I was hoping he was being sarcastic. I’m still hoping that.

      • Mike says:

        Well grace, while I usually spend time figuring out ways to eliminate evil libtards from the face of the earth and return us to the paradise we once enjoyed, I’ll take a few minutes to respond to your reply.

        In my reply to Sillygirl96, I link to an article that indicates failure to pay a non-enrollment penalty of Obongocare can result in up to five years in jail–where you will be working for a private company for 35 cents an hour; it’s cheaper than relocating a factory to China.

        As for my comments about blacks, you spout the usual libtard garbage about race. See Wichert’s study: http://wicherts.socsci.uva.nl/wicherts2009.pdf
        Also, science has identified a violence gene that is at least two and one half times more prevalent in blacks than whites and additional scientific studies–as opposed to just the feelings and falsified data that libtards are so well known for putting out–clearly show blacks lack impulse control and any thought of consequence. This explains why, in any given year, between 10k and 30k white women are raped by subhuman black savages. American blacks IQ is a bit higher than the worldwide average black IQ due to race mixing, but, as the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study points out, blacks general never progress beyond the mentality of an 11 year old. Just ask anyone who actually has to deal with them on a a daily basis as opposed to asking a pseudo-intellectual libtard who lives in a gated community and may only have interaction with a single affirmative action black hire who works in a controlled environment.

        • notsocrazy says:

          I wish that I could do something positive to change your views. For instance, I might introduce you to my friend Maurice, who in addition to being one of the wisest and most intelligent men I know, is full-blooded Congolese. However, I am inclined to think that I would not be able to stand hearing your bigotry in person, and would do something regrettable.

      • btgolz says:

        So much for that little spot of hope…

  5. Sillygirl96 says:

    Beautifully said Mike – I just don’t understand why people are not marching on Washington – I just don’t get it –

  6. re-blogged this on http://gospelperspective.wordpress.com/ great post, just goes to show how much we need to instill in them faith in god and teach our kids that they are children of god,

  7. ph says:

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  8. Nyxie says:

    Sheltering your children does not automatically mean they’ll turn out okay. I was homeschooled the whole way through high school, didn’t have a lot of exposure to the “normal world” until I was a teenager, was surrounded by strong Christian people, am still rather innocent at 20… and yet none of that stopped me from a battle with depression that I will probably spend the rest of my life fighting. Wrapping something in bubble-wrap doesn’t prevent it from breaking – it just lowers the odds. “Good kids” don’t always get lucky, and until more people recognize that, it’ll be hard to change things.

  9. Eduardo says:

    It seems like your looking for answers the way I have been. This is why I truly believe in restructuring our society from the bottom up. No more capitalism and more of a Resource Based Economy. Check out http://www.thevenusproject.com/ and or the movie Zeitgeist: Moving Forward. It will change your life. I guarantee it.

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  13. jagielski01 says:

    Your post makes me beyond angry. I agree that things aren’t easy for kids, but you’re saying that its so much worse for kids these days. You might have had a simple easy life, but I didn’t and all of the things you listed that are so horrible for kids these days were huge problems when I was growing up. You’re apparently oblivious to the past.

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