I’ve been pondering lately. Pondering is such a lovely word isn’t it? To ponder or muse, is to think with abandon. When you let your mind explore ideas and avenues of possibilities you really don’t know where its going to end up. It’s an adventure all it’s own. No bruises, bumps, sore muscles or back strain and brain strain is easily fixed with a nap.
Anyway, I’ve been pondering Millennials. I have one, actually 2 because the one is married to one. It’s fun to enter their world for a day or two. I can’t live there permanently but I don’t mind visiting. In so many ways, they remind me of the past 60 something generation (hippies). They’re into bohemian style, their politics are thoughtful and liberal leaning, they love independent music and are highly argumentative about their passions. But there is a fundamental difference between them and their predecessors. They were raised to believe they are invincible and that their dreams are what should fuel their lives. “Livin’ the dream” could be their life goal and it’s due in large part to their parents’ coaching. Hippies, in contrast rebelled against their parents’ expectations in order to live their dreams.
We taught them not to settle for lies and deception in life. We taught them to look at the source of their information and to vet their ideas and values. We taught them to arm themselves with information and showed them how to find it. We told them they could do anything they wanted to do. We said, they were the best at everything they tried, firmly establishing them as demigods. We told them they should be passionate about their ideals and vocations. We told them to value those who were disadvantaged. We helped them find their talents, helped them develop their skills, showed them by example the cost of workaholism (thank you daughter). Is it any wonder they can’t find jobs? With those kinds of standards no one could.
It shouldn’t be surprising to us that they en masse rallied behind Bernie Sanders as their candidate of choice. He stood for everything we taught them to value. Honesty, not taking money from corporate greed mongers, fair wages for all, free education for all (mind you many millennials are in extreme student loan debt) and health care that covers all their needs. What they didn’t know and failed to account for was the history of Clintonite electoral rigging. When Mr. Bill ran for office in 91, my millennials were only 4 yrs old. They have no background of the uproar he caused in those primaries. I remember though, and I tried to tell my 2 last Christmas that Uncle Bernie didn’t stand a chance because “SHE” would have this tied up every direction possible. I think I may have even said “You’re nuts if you think he can beat her”. It’s no comfort to know I was right and I’m not gloating at their disillusionment.
Instead my ponderings are taking me in the direction of their world and what it’s going to become. My 2 own a home (along with the bank of course) and are paying off student loans. They want a family. They are both working full time, one in their chosen profession, the other at a job to pay the bills. They have passions and interests for their leisure time. One does writing and video editing, the other is an avid gardening fanatic and voracious reader. They have cats. Fortunately they live in a city that affords them a generous lifestyle. But when I think about their future I wonder, will it be as hopeful as mine was at their age?
When we were in their position in life our country’s economy was much healthier. Medical costs were much lower, insurance affordable. Loans on houses were atrocious but the cost of the houses were much less. Gas was less than $1 pr gallon and food was cheap. Life was pretty good all around. No major wars going on, a strong military and the fall of the Berlin wall signaled a more positive global outlook. The Middle East always had problems but we weren’t too concerned about it, as long as Israel was secure.
Not so today. Homegrown terrorism. Economies that fluctuate monthly as corporations grow more greedy. Growing job insecurity. Global violence. Racial violence at home. Untrustworthy law enforcement. A majority of self-serving politicians. A media that doesn’t report news, good or bad. I’m astounded they get out of bed daily. I can’t imagine facing our world with their future let alone raising a family in it. Pessimism is a natural outlook, optimism rare.
What is fueling a lot of my pondering though is the example we, as the parent generation, are showing to this group. Are we optimistic? Are we positive? Do we present them with wisdom that will lead to positive changes. Are we modeling for them what we want them to live like in any political culture? Do they only see hand wringing, deep sighing, FB memes with quotes about how much better it was in the past or ones that pithily trash either candidate? Do we present them with a respectable political position or are we the jokes among their peers? Are we defending the indefensible when they totally despise the choices? Have we offered them a reason to look to the future, to be involved, to vote their conscience and to continue to play their part in our democracy. If not, shame on us.
When thinking about Biblical solutions and answers a verse from Micah came to me. Israel was in the pits when this was written. Judgement was a comin’ and they didn’t know how to proceed. Fear ruled the day, they didn’t know if they should sacrifice their children or sell all their goods in order to make things right with God. What does Micah say?
Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
As we continue down this season of hotbed conversations, social media memeing and media blather, run that filter over your actions. What do you listen to, watch, quote, advocate? Is it humble, is it merciful, is it just? If not maybe it’s time to rethink some things. This generation needs our leadership from the homefront to be positive, to show that our trust isn’t in politics but in God. If our dread of the future is tied to political outcomes, where is our faith? How can we expect the next generation to live their faith if we don’t show them how?
I’ll close with this:
Psalm 19:14 “May these words of my mouth and this edition of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord my Rock and my Redeemer”