There are many positive aspects of the up-and-coming generations. They are technologically savvy, they tend to respond more rapidly to changing conditions, and they process more knowledge – more quickly – than any generation before them. In contrast, however, there are many challenges that should serve as warnings before simply putting the older generations out to pasture.
Although I can only begin to skim the surface of this profound and deep topic in this blog, I believe it is high time we dig beyond the platitudes and begin a serious discussion about the future of our world and more specifically the future of the Church.
Millennials and those coming after them, have been puffed up in many ways. Trophies for participation, protection from nearly every conceivable threat to their self-image, ego-inflating curriculum, and much more has produced what many social scientists agree is the most narcissistic and egotistical generation to ever walk the planet. The atmosphere of entitlement is thick throughout the culture. I understand and acknowledge many notable exceptions with gratefulness.
Add to the above the utter failure by previous generations to properly parent the next generation and we have the makings of a disaster. It is not just the broken homes that are the problem. The philosophy of “stuff” became the rally cry of Boomers and X’ers who thought they could give their kids a better childhood than their own by buying them stuff. Unfortunately, this often meant that the children were left to fend for themselves and learn about the world from television, the Internet, and other children while parents worked long hours and indulged their own lives.
Well-meaning leaders often attempt to appoint young people to leadership too quickly (1 Tim 5:22). In an attempt to win them or build a youth culture, they often only serve to puff them up as they are not yet ready for such responsibility. (1 Tim 3:6)
In 1 Kings 12, we see the beginning of the end for Israel when Rehoboam took the advice of those that he grew up with rather than the wisdom of the ones with the experience. The advice and ideology of the new generation seemed completely reasonable and sound to themselves, but they lacked wisdom and it caused the nation to be divided.
His Father, Solomon, had written the warning, “Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child… (Eccl 10:16 (NKJV)). Rehoboam was not a child, but by rejecting wisdom from everything that came before him (good and bad), he did seem to be thinking like one. Perhaps we should consider this cautionary tale today and seek out ways to reunite the Fathers to the Sons and the Mothers to the Daughters before it is too late. There is wisdom in relationship.