By Trace Embry
Because we have inappropriate means of coping with depression, hunger, poverty, hurt, etc.; many teens in today’s culture are often able to drown these problems with a myriad of improper vices, which too often makes these problems worse.
What today’s culture is failing to realize is that these vices do not fix their problems. In today’s post I’d like to present two aspects of a decline in culture.
The Fading of Moral Standard
We have an entire generation of young people who have no recollection of America or the moral values she predominately adhered to from her inception.
Think about this.
The average college-aged American has no recollection of life beyond the Bill Clinton years! No teenager has this recollection. This is not a slam to Bill Clinton. It was the American people who voted him in not once, but twice. We Americans had exposed our priorities of economy over morality. We no longer linked morality with ultimate prosperity, peace, goodness, or joy and happiness.
We have become a “drive-thru” and “super-size” me generation of spoiled brats; not unlike the Israelites under Moses who wouldn’t think of delaying gratification or enduring pain for a greater good—mainly because “good” has now become a relative term. We have passed this mindset and worldview on to our teenagers today.
We forsake God’s laws and God Himself. As our teenagers grow up and grab the torch we have passed them, they no longer have the reference point we once had from which to rebel. Baby-Boomers at least had a standard by which to lay a foundation for their worldview and presuppositions about right and wrong. Today’s teens have never had that luxury.
MTV started in 1980. It may be the closest thing to a societal moral standard this generation has ever known. The problem with MTV’s moral standards is that there are no moral standards. This is the logical outworking of the postmodern worldview that was birthed in the 1960’s cultural and sexual revolution. Many troubled teens today are the product of the same.
Unfortunately, there were a lot of young adults and teenagers in 1980 that quickly had their rebellious hearts fueled by MTV. These people are now the parents and even grandparents of today’s kids who are so damaged that they have no idea how damaged they really are. So many American teenagers don’t have a moral standard by which to return to or to compare.
When it comes to morality, American culture and law are the only standards they are familiar with. The standards their parents and grandparents knew about and grew up with, but rebelled against, are now looked at as archaic and fairy-tale like in the eyes of so many teenagers today.
A Lack of Focused Leadership
Culture continues to decline by the fact that many of aforementioned parents and grandparents are now is positions of leadership. They are policy-changers and makers. What is even more dangerous is that they have now become change agents in virtually all avenues of culture. They are politicians–from recent presidents on down to state and local governments.
They are also teachers, entertainers, producers, talk-show hosts, coaches, athletes, policemen, judges, and more. What is most sad and more dangerous is that they are pastors, priests, Sunday school teachers, and youth workers also.
Perhaps this is why there are as many teens inside the church as outside the church.
The enemy is fully entrenched in every avenue of influence that reaches into our kids’ hearts and minds—and for the moment he is winning big!
How Do We Transform a Culture
As Christian parents, it is vitally important we get back to a standard that gives our kids and ourselves a moral reference point for living life. There is no emotional and spiritual security without it.
And where should this standard of moral reference come from?
Well, in America, with the exception of the last few decades; it has always come from Scripture—the Bible. Even the U.S. court system made a person swear an oath of truth over the Holy Bible. Today, many Christian parents do not even use the Bible as a moral reference point for living or parenting their kids.
Is there any wonder why Christians suffer from all the same vices as the secular world?
We take our behavioral and moral cues from the same place the world does—from rock stars and talk-show hosts and movie stars. This is even more prevalent in the teenage population. People of style over substance are influencing our kids much more than we know. As Christian parents we must heed Deuteronomy 6:6-7. “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Talk about them when you sit at home; when you walk along the road; when you lie down and when you get up.”
Today, it seems the only thing our teenagers are hearing and heeding to when they sit at home; walk along the road; and when they lie down and when they get up, is whatever garbage they have downloaded onto their iPod or view on their computer. Our affluence has been used of the enemy to bring our American teenagers to the point of hopelessness; a problem we should all be concerned with as a society.
What are the areas you have noticed a decline in the moral standard of living in today’s culture?