The Crisis of Meaninglessness

Please bear with my rant.  I’m beginning to panic.

“Our society has set them up.  We raised them on self-esteem, Disney romances and anime.  There is virtually nothing in their popular culture which promotes adult-sized goals or grown-up relationships. We sent them to schools and colleges where they were taught to design a life of single self-determination, like perpetual teenagers. These schools taught them that there is no intrinsic value in anything, and that the family is a man-made construct which has outlived its destructive usefulness. Why are we surprised that they are uninspired to set goals and unmotivated to reach?” ~ Me: A Better Gateway

We need to wake up. Our young adults are failing, wandering aimlessly. Biding their time til the next self-gratifying experience drifts by. We have taught them that that is all there is to their meaningless lives. We’ve done our jobs well.

This is a crisis.  It’s a personal crisis because my husband and I raised our children in a home-centered, family-centered cultural context and expected to have a few grandchildren by now; and none of our kids are even married yet; and we’re getting old!  It’s a societal crisis because most of the couples we know with kids the same age are older than us and there are no grandchildren on their horizons either. Even the few offspring who are married aren’t having kids…at least yet.

Multiply that to encompass our whole postmodern first world culture, east and west, and you have a global crisis. It is an unacknowledged crisis because to say that our carefully planned and handled diva children ought to *gasp* get married, have children, and self-sacrifice to build and cultivate families…to become other-centered, to become submissive to one another, and above all, to eclipse their unique specialness in order to commit to mundane family life …is sociopolitical blasphemy.

Especially offensive is the thought that young women ought to seek their purpose and fulfillment in pouring out their lives for others.  Even worse is the suggestion that the highest and most noble expression of this pouring out would be their own families.

Sadly, the “Christian” subculture market has perpetrated exactly the same paradigm, offered our kids precisely the same self-image.  Sure, they’re earnest about serving, they go on short-term mission trips to  international, sometimes exotic, places. But their week-long look at a less-fortunate world may not lead them to the conclusions we had hoped.

Priority Number One is to complete your career preparation, get that degree. Find your unique special niche in some quasi-Christian-y field and make a difference! So do something safe with the potential for injecting a little Christian culture into it, pursue my expensive hobbies and live my life. Young women, set up your professional ministry life first, then think about looking for a husband, but wait until you’re at least 28! Maybe you should even get married, but your career…your ministry…must be considered before the careful micromanagement of childbearing.

The focus is still on ME.  I’m the center of that totally self-determined universe.  First I have to find out who I am, then I can arrange all the accessories around the circumference.

It’s a first world, upper-middle class, professional vision.  That is its context and origin.

Why don’t we look for the vision for our children’s lives in the Word of God? Don’t we believe that God can communicate with us? Or do we think we had better handle it? Don’t we think God’s model of family will work for us in our enlightened contemporary context?

Isn’t it arrogance of the first order to teach our children that the our present-day cultural context is the best guide for living their lives?  Are we ready for our kids to be truly different, unpopular, out-of-tune with today’s culture?  Do we teach from two opposing textbooks? Surely we preach to them that they should be willing to be different for Jesus…but do we mean it?

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

2 thoughts on “The Crisis of Meaninglessness

  1. insanitybytes22

    Good rant. It is upsetting, isn’t it? I notice a huge shift in the world between our older kids and our younger ones. They have the same home, same parents, but the world changed and it started influencing them. So while our older kids are self sufficient, the younger ones are a bit lost and still at home. Try explaining to a young girl today that what will make her happy, what she will find more challenging and fulfilling than anything else, is marriage, home, family. They look at you like you’re nuts.



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