Saturday, May 22, 2010

Parent Fog - Some Thoughts

Bobby and I always wanted kids, however when it became clear this wasn't the Lord's will for us, we decided to invest in the kids of other people who were brought into our lives. This has provided us with some advantages in relating to young people.

One advantage is we lack "parent fog." This is the hazy mist that surrounds otherwise savvy, intelligent men and women rendering them deaf, dumb and blind when it comes to their children. It's the "my child would never..." syndrome or the "I know some kids his/her age do [fill in the blank], but my son/daughter would NEVER..." attitude, regardless of whether the topic is drugs, sex, rock-n-roll or cheating in class.

Parental love often expresses I Corinthians 13 in that it hopes, believes and expects the best. My hubby tells the story of a lady he worked with who came home early and heard her son cuss at his sister. When confronted, the son swore to his mom that that was the first time he had used that language and (of course) it would never happen again. When the mom related this story to Bobby and another coworker, she was met with laughter. "Let me understand this - the FIRST and only time your son cussed just happened to be within ear shot of his mom? C'mon!!!" The mom reflected on the scenario and Bobby's skepticism and realized she'd been played by her son. The son had been able to sell that improbable lie because he knew his mom would desperately want to believe the best about him.

So many Christian parents don't realize that today's young Johnny & Susie know so much more about sex, drugs, rock-n-roll and the world in general than our generation did at the same age. Mental innocence is a rare commodity and extremely difficult to hold on to in our 24/7 instant information age.

This may explain the Generation Gap more completely than the difference in ages. It is quite possibly a gap created by a lack of cultural awareness, a lack of remembrance of the thinking process and behavior tendencies of teenagers (processes and tendencies that don't change that much from generation to generation), and a lack of realistically assessing the world in which their children live as it is and not as they wish it to be or perhaps romantically remember it to be from their youth.

To be successful with today's young people, those in my peer group who came of age in the 80s must constantly remind themselves the world these kids are growing up in is far different from the world we experienced. You may not like it, but listen to their music, watch the TV shows of their generation and read the books they read - this will give you a context for those discussions on values and faith.

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