Generation Why?

What about this generation, typically referred to as Gen-Y, post baby boomers, the millennial generation, roughly born between the mid-70’s-90. Where do you stand? Oh I’m sure if you’re a boomer like me, your head has spun a few times at the sight of a Gen Y-er. I mean c’mon, what’s with the tattoos, nose rings, triple ear piercings and other unmentionable piercings? And then the electronic appendages, oh yes, it is a rare sighting to spot a Gen-Y subject that doesn’t have something hanging off his or her body to connect them to their flavor of the month. How about those apps that can be purchased in a matter of a keyboard stroke or two, linking your sweet girl or boy to all kinds of fabulous sights like …forget it, on second thought they’re not worthy of a mention. Suffice it to say, make your kid’s IPhone…an EYE phone for a minute, and scroll through the teen apps available to get the shock of your life. We’re not talking profanity here, okay.

Today, foul language might sting the young stronger believer, but as a rule it’s no biggie to most, and some might even respond with a “whatevs.” Huh? I laughed so hard the first time my 16 year old step-daughter said that to me.

Or the first time I heard the slang word, “sup” for “what’s up”, what truly was up with that? After LOL, I stopped trying to figure out the new three letter word alphabet and I beckoned our three girls to try and stick to the English language, not so much because I was frustrated with the loss of language as it was originally written and intended to be spoken (although that did concern me to some degree,) but I honestly couldn’t understand their code.

Furthermore, why is this generation moving back in with their parents after college? Why are their parents raising their kids, and with a track record like that, why on earth do they think they know it all?  Yah…yah…yah…talk to the hand!

There is a lot to gripe about if you fail to consider that it’s all relative to a degree; hear me out. When Gen X-ers, those born from the early 50’s-60 (like me and quite possibly you), had the floor, older folks had issues with us as well. I distinctly remember my father breaking my 17 year old sister’s Woodstock album over his knee in a fit of rage, because one of the songs used profanity as a form of musical expression. Sex, drugs, alcohol and rock and roll music took center stage and were the theme for rebellious teens and older. Anti-war protests were making their way onto college campuses starting riots and even ending in fatalities. Back then parents were notorious for comments like, “These kids today have no respect for their elders; they don’t know what real music is; it just isn’t like it was in our day; they should’ve lived through the depression,” etc.

So, maybe the Beatles were onto something when they sang, “talking ’bout my generation.'”

It seems that every generation thinks they know a lot, if not everything. Historically generations are a bit tribal in their acceptance of other generations. Younger generations might say they know more because they have more technology, and can travel to places that an older generation may never visit, let alone experience. They can also program the heck out of any electronic device you put before them in record time. Like my 12 year old step-daughter completely programming my IPhone, practically before I had it out of the box. From the app folders, to the screen saver, to the size font, colors etc. Oh my goodness, she gave me option after option until my tired brain collapsed from decision making and trying to track with this 21st century child.

On the flip side, older generations believe their experience is more valuable because they did not have so many options, which in turn forced them to be relational, and to work hard and not take things for granted. This is where the heart of this article is going; I believe this generation has a lot of great things to teach and share, but I also believe previous generations have just as much valuable input (if not more,) to make a huge difference in today’s youth. Furthermore, we have a responsibility to God; it’s biblical, and that (like Jim Morrison sang back in my day,) lights my fire!

So, what do we say to these wide-eyed, techno prone kids that rock the world we once knew and called our own when we were their age?  Maybe the better question would be what do we not say? It’s really tough because on the one hand they can run circles around us with the gadgets of this era, but on the other hand, even though framed by the notion that they know it all, they appear crippled when it comes to intimate authentic relationships. Something even as small as making a personal call to apologize to a friend seems monumental, when that was at one time our only option.

I think we really need to focus not so much on reminding them of what our lives were like, and how they were better, or more valuable, but instead maybe take the approach that just like we are not so savvy when it comes to some electronics, they as well are not aware of some of the valuable concepts that have impacted our lives, (and theirs for that matter) positively.

There really is no replacement for the age old precepts that God has put in place. The foundation of family and intimate, committed relationships that stretch us and cause us to mature and suffer long, are the precepts laid down in the book of Corinthians; to take time with one another, to be slow to anger as opposed to sending a quick thoughtless text, or a reckless slam on Facebook. Extra time and a slower pace often intercepts disasters and unless our kids get that, they will most definitely be prone to making messes that unfortunately cannot be healed through the internet.

Indeed, the old need to teach and instruct the young. Even the state of the art, cutting edge electronics cannot change that…why? Because God said it. Proverbs 6:20-23 states: “My son (or daughter,) keep your father’s commands, and don’t forget your mother’s teaching. Keep their words in mind forever as though you had them tied around your neck. They will guide you when you walk. They will guard you when you sleep. They will speak to you when you are awake. These commands are like a lamp; this teaching is like a light. And the correction that comes from them will help you have life.”

And these darn kids today thought the expression, “Get a life!” was original…Lol.

If you are a Gen X-er, than you are called by God to minister to the Y’s. Whether you are a biological parent, a step-parent, a foster parent or a guardian, God wants to speak through you to make a difference in this generation. He is building His kingdom and He doesn’t need electronics to do it. But He is however asking us to tell the story!

To speak the truth into the lives of our children is the greatest honor. Let them fidget on their smart phones and gadgets, but God forbid any of us give in to those things, or let them take the place of the high calling to minister love, grace and truth to our kids.

Robin Revier :