I recently read Ben Sasse’s book The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming of Age Crisis and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self Reliance, and it left me with a stronger sense of personal responsibility for raising sturdy adults, because after all, our children are headed that way- adulthood- sooner than later.
Here is an excerpt from the book:
“I believe our entire nation is in the midst of a collective coming-of-age crisis without parallel in our history. We are living in an America of perpetual adolescence. Our kids simply don’t know what an adult is anymore – or how to become one. Many don’t even see a reason to try. Perhaps more problematic, the older generations have forgotten that we need to plan to teach them. It’s our fault more than it is theirs.”
There is an outcry from every direction, whether it be towards the government, our schools, social media, or even each other, pointing fingers, yet are we taking responsibility for what is ours? Because the breakdown in the family will inevitably lead to a breakdown in society. We look to the government or schools to raise our kids when the responsibility to raise them is ours. And if the systems that we place our trust in fail, we flail our arms up and rage against those very same systems.
Instead of casting blame, let’s take responsibility. Instead of passing the buck, let’s shoulder our own weight. Instead of running away from the problem, let’s work towards a solution. The government or schools cannot replace the family, and when all of the systems fail we have no one to blame but ourselves. Because no one wants to do the hard work of raising a wired generation- overly connected yet desperately disconnected. We busy our kids in activities from one thing to another, rushing, frantic, jittery, and restless. And we wonder why they never grew up.
My kids are young. They have yet to “grow up.” I pray for them and will continue to pray for them even when they are grown. What I know is that the responsibility is my husband’s and mine to raise them with help from grandparents and the church. We do not expect their character will be formed automatically or that the culture will shape them for the better. It will not. We have to take responsibility for what is ours. And this generation behind us is our responsibility to nurture and raise.
If we let the government govern, teachers teach, entertainers entertain, and we as parents PARENT, then maybe we will see a generation less restless, wired, depressed, and disconnected. Maybe we will see a generation flourish instead of flounder. Maybe we will see families strengthened in society when we recognize that the responsibility was ours all along.