Wednesday, May 4, 2016
We meant well
To my children:
I'm sorry. We have failed you.
We knew better than our parents did. They we so old-fashioned. They saw the world as black and white - like their TVs when they were young. They couldn't relate to a technicolor reality the way we could. Our world was in full color since the day we were born. We were smarter than them. They couldn't program a VCR, we created Netflix. They invented swivel adaptors for their extra long telephone cords to keep them from getting tangled, allowing them to travel a full eight and a half feet outside their kitchen while still remaining on their phone. We invented smart phones, and email, and texting, so that we could remain connected at all times and in all places, whether it was during dinner at a restaurant, taking a dump in the bathroom, in the middle of Church on Sunday or even while flying at thirty-thousand feet over South Dakota. Talk about progress!
Although our parents scolded and punished us when we did something wrong, we were more loving with you. We didn't raise our voices and tell you that you were wrong. We instead praised your self-expression and unique perspective. When we did something bad at school, our cruel, old-fashioned parents would give us a serious ear-chewing when we got home. But if any teacher of yours dared to suggest you had done something wrong, we called for that teacher's removal. If they gave you a bad grade for sub-standard work, we demanded that they change their standards to be more "fair". If you sat on the bench in your sporting events because you weren't as good as the others, we were outraged at the coaches and demanded that they give you more playing time. How dare they suggest one child was better at something than another?! That's racism, or favoritism, or something-ism, isn't it?! Above all else, we wanted you to know that you were important. So we gave you trophies for participating. We made your teachers grade with purple or blue pens because red markings suggested that your mistakes were wrong. We compassionately silenced the voices of the majority so that those who were in a minority, would never have to feel like they were in a minority.
Because we loved you.
We sought to give you every advantage we never had. Our parents were so backward, they would save for years before buying something expensive. We had to do without so many things that we wanted because our horrible parents "didn't have it in the budget". We swore that that that wouldn't happen to you. We gave you everything you wanted, right when you wanted it. After all, why wait? You don't have to be able to afford to pay the whole price of something - as long as you can afford the payments.
Because we loved you, we sacrificed our time with you to climb higher up our corporate ladders. We became a "two-income" family to better afford all the payments. Our parents would never have done that for us. Sure, we weren't there when you got home from school, but you knew that what we were doing was for your benefit. Besides, the school and the TV were doing such a good job of raising you, you didn't really miss out on anything by our being absent.
And with all our efforts to teach you how important you are, you learned.
You learned that truth doesn't matter. Character doesn't matter. Results don't matter.
Only winning matters.
...And no matter the character of your results, the truth is you are a winner.
You learned that you deserve to have what you want, and somebody else should give it to you.
You learned that if it can't be said in a 15 second sound bite, it can't possibly be worth listening to.
You learned to value career over care-giving, ease over effort, entertainment over enlightenment, fantasy over faith, handouts over hard work, popularity over principle, security over self-sufficiency, and success without sacrifice.
Wealth is obscene, pornography is not. You vigorously defend the "rights" of those who exploit women for profit. You call it art. You condemn those who speak in favor of chastity and family values. You call it bigotry.
Morality is obsolete. Gender is an opinion. You install urinals in your Ladies' rooms, and sanitary napkin baskets in your Men's rooms. You celebrate "choice", unless someone chooses to believe in Christ or adhere to the time-tested values of the past. You worship at the altar of tolerance, while calling intolerant any who pray at the feet of God.
Yes, we failed you because we loved you, and you are now reaping the bitter harvest that we have sown. The world of reason and prosperity that our parents left to us is lost, and it will not come again in your lifetime. But maybe, just maybe your grandchildren's grandchildren will revolt against the despotism you and I have ignorantly placed upon them, cast off the shackles of the failed philosophies of the past, embrace principles of liberty and responsibility and rise up to be smarter than their parents.
Just like we did.