A popular blogger, Jan Morgan asked, “If it is true that it takes a village to raise a child, I ask today, what in our culture contributed to raising a monster?” That is the exact question that needs... no...demands an answer! But the problem I have is that I don't believe that there is one answer but many. And they are interwoven into a knot that will not be easily undone. I feel that I can only address here some of the things that I have observed in my lifetime.
I was born during the Eisenhower Presidency. But my earliest real memories are from the Kennedy years. Guns have always been a part of my family. My grandfather had several. He wasn't really a hunter. He just really liked shooting and he assumed all responsibility for the security of his home and family. My father was a career officer in the Army. His sidearm was always around but secured. When President Kennedy was killed. No one anthropomorphized Oswald's rifle. Lee Harvey Oswald was just insane. But with the death of J.F.K. the country lost a bit of hope for the future. If there is anything that children need it is hope.
In the 1960's there was also the Viet Nam war. This could be an article or book in itself. But to my point it eventually became a galvanizing beacon against hate and violence. But a little more hope was lost before that happened. The summer of love was amazing. And there was reason for some hope to return. The counter culture that held a reverence for love and freedom was a powerful force. But I would suggest that the counter culture was perhaps too quick to discard parts of their parents and grandparents traditions that were good and just. That “rebellion”, which is a natural part of growing up, was appropriated. Appropriated largely by the entertainment industry. But also by political voices looking for an advantage.
Over time, parts of our society came under attack from within. One example is that many stopped seeing religion as a helpful and hopeful way for people to gather and rejoice in their faith, as well as doing good work in the name of God. Instead, religion came to be seen as old fashioned, restrictive, and unyielding. This perception has been continuously advanced by corrupt people who profit either monetarily or politically from their corruption of others. You have seen these things, profanity for profit, pornography for profit, intoxication as recreation, promiscuity portrayed as freedom. There have been rewards for bad behavior for two generations now. Let alone the falsely perceived removal of consequence. It has been the coarsening of our American culture.
We have been trained to tolerate such “damaging darkness” as First Amendment free speech. Well let me make this point right here and right now. In America, people have the right to free speech with very nearly no restriction. That doesn't, however, give them the right to be heard. That doesn't give them the right to be accepted. That simply does not excuse them from consequence! That absolutely does not give them the right to damage the impressionable minds of our children. And our ill advised tolerance has taken its toll.
Some parents have been quite derelict. Unfortunately, it doesn't take very many negligent parents to create a tragedy among us. The National Institutes of Health Studied daycare kids. And in 2001 they reported that children in daycare became more aggressive and defiant in kindergarten. And in my opinion, that is an arguably better situation than those of children who are just parked in front of a television, video game, or the internet hour after hour. Two working parent and single parent households have been mainstreamed. I am not convinced that this is a good thing. I believe that this study in particular gives me just cause for concern. I realize that not every single parent has had a choice in their situation. But many have. I have come to respect those folks who recognize that they don't want to be parents and then make sure that it doesn't happen. They are healthier for our society than those who have children as an affectation of their perfect “I can do everything” lives.
Is it necessary to include God in the raising of children? Some say absolutely “NO”. Some say definitely “YES”. This minister says, “It may well be possible to raise healthy, happy, well adjusted children with the absence of religion or God in their parents lives. But in the absence of parents themselves it is nearly impossible. And having God in a family's life makes everything a whole lot easier.”
As for Jan Morgan's question, “If it is true that it takes a village to raise a child, I ask today, what in our culture contributed to raising a monster?” I submit that in no small part two generations have seen some people place more importance on chasing money, wanting big houses, and coveting shiny new cars. And some of those people have placed less importance on serving their children and society as loving and responsible parents. Many people have come to see houses as merely profit opportunities instead of homes. And God seems unwelcome in school and in the hearts of many politicians. What should we have expected?
As for the entertainment industry and the coarsening of culture, I hope that they have nearly reached the end of their ability to objectify and corrupt humanity. What is next? Cannibalism? I am serious. How far do they have to go before the majority of America says, “Enough! We just can't stand any more of the darkness!” Where will YOU draw that line? It is time to turn on the light... now! Perhaps a better way to say it is this. It is time to turn OFF the darkness...NOW! Do you have enough spiritual will left to even find the switch in your heart?