Saturday, September 17, 2011

Teaching Our Children and Our Children's Children

I really resonated with a recent blog post by Adam Copeland, Young adults are amoral heathens, but what’s new? | The Christian Century.

The Book of Deuteronomy (and one might even argue the entire Pentateuch) is given for "the sake of the children." (See, for example, Deuteronomy 4:9 and 6:7). The lessons learned in covenantal relationship with YHWH are lessons that need to be passed along. As someone who spends some time with undergraduate students (and as the father of a 21 year-old and a 17 year-old) I know that parents cannot do this alone; it really does "take a village." But the village is in trouble.
Blaming young people for the mess(es) in which we find ourselves seems rather ridiculous, as I think Copeland rightly points out. It is in truth we parents and grandparents who have failed our childrens' generation; not the other way around.  When we who teach college students complain that they cannot think or write, we do well to remember that such skills are not innate.This is not to point fingers in the other direction to do more blaming; it is to rightly accept responsibility, which is step one if we mean to tackle the problem. Copeland writes:
What I will do, however, is refuse to blame young adults themselves for not having been given the resources to take on moral questions — it’s not their fault that faith communities, schools, and parents failed them. Let me repeat that: it doesn’t do us any good to blame 20 year-olds for not having the moral sensibilities we wish they had.
To which I say,amen! The issue he raises at the end points out why it matters so much and why faith communities, schools, and parents so need to get our acts together.
Is it that young adults truly have fewer moral resources with which to deal with moral questions than previous generations, or is it that today’s questions are so much more complex that young adults need more skills and understanding to just tread water in our consumeristic pluralized technologically-advanced globalized world? After all, it’s much easier to teach and theologize that “murder is wrong” than it is to discuss unmanned drone strikes in remote border areas of Afghanistan/Pakistan during an unfunded “war on terror” lasting over ten years. 
 To which I say, "amen and amen!"

1 comment:

  1. Good thoughts to ponder. I don't really want to BLAME anyone for this. It is human nature. However, of course we want to teach, give resources and tools, and inspire young people to make good moral choices.

    I look at your son and see you practice what you preach. He is a fine young man. Thanks for these words and for your action behind them.