It’s interesting to notice the difference between this generation and the generation prior to it. There is more reliance on technology, more of a belief that life is all about living as freely and easily as possible, and, most notably, a lessening of the importance of faith within families, schools and communities. That is not to say that there are not families and schools who strive to encourage students and each other to have a relationship with Christ, but it seems as though parents and leaders struggle reaching to the general youth of this generation.
First, let’s look at the family. In this situation we have three different scenarios. The first scenario is the family in which the mother and/or father have been raised by extremely devout parents of their own. They have realized the benefits of having such parents and try to be the same kind of parent(s) to their children. But, as good as that intention is, it can be said that this generation is of a much more technological and generally different orientation, (and the generation following shall be even more so).
This calls for a repositioning of the satelite. If parents want to reach out to their children successfully, they will have to step into their shoes, instead of the popular approach of setting high standards, and encourage them to grow according to their own growth as a youth. This means that parents must disown the “If you were me” mentality when dealing with their children. Because, reality is, our lifestyles as children are not entirely the same as those of our children, and as long as we continue to place our children into our own lives instead of vice versa, we will always have difficulty understanding them, therefore making it more of a challenge to reach them.
The second scenario is the reverse of the first. It is not unusual for a child to find a relationship with Christ to be a favorable one while the child’s parents have not come to that conclusion. This is a tough situation for the child. Parents are the most influencial people in a child’s life, and this pushes the child to act in a way that will satisfy or please their parents. For some, this isn’t a difficult thing to do, not because the child would willingly defy their parents, but because their parents happen to be searching for the very thing their child has discovered and are willing to adhere to it. On the other hand, Parents might not be so willing to follow their child, whether it is because they do not believe the child is in the right to be “experimenting” with such a relationship, or because they have already dismissed the idea and don’t believe it is the best idea.
Whatever the reason, this is hard for a child to live with. Especially as the child grows older into adelescance and emotion travels in a roller coaster pattern, the refusal to accept the way the child has chosen to live can cause a rift in the relationship between parent and child, making it hard for the child to continue in that lifestyle and for parents maintain good terms with their child as it may seem to them as a rebellion of some sort. At this point, from the parents perspective, a breakdown of the “experienced-parent” wall is in order. As parents it’s easy to get caught in the mindset of having nothing to learn from one’s children. Yet, many things can be learned from a child, for example, dealing with a two year old can teach a parent to be more patient, a ten year old can teach a parent new and interesting things earned in school, and just the same a teenager can teach a parent to put things in perspective.
In all of these situations, going more than halfway is a necessary road to take. Merely doing the minimum amount of work to repair the relationship or understand someone is only going to reap a the minimum benefits. In other words, like a computer, you will only get as much out of something as you’ve put into it. Relationships are very much the same, and require both parties to do the same.In the realm of faith, this is extremely important, for how can one claim to be at peace because of Christ if there is not peace in one’s own home? Some may call this an ambitious assumption, but if we could learn to understand our own children or family members, there should be a ripple effect that will bring the world slowly but surely to understand each other a work for a more peaceful world.