Started looking at the problem of APATHY…read this first. The last post on this topic addressed the fact that there is a with apathy in today’s youth. I want to expand that a bit here and offer some thoughts. Again these are purely my thoughts based on observations I have made while in the ministry.
As a parent or individual who works with students, you may noticed that today’s teenager if completely impassive and unemotional about most things. The first thing I want to consider is social de-sensitivity. I remember as a child growing up playing Army in the back yard. My weapon of choice was a 3-foot long PVC pipe I had painted green. It was my ‘rocket launcher’. I did not have an Xbox 360 or PS3 so first person shooters were not around. I wonder how much social de-sensitivity plays into the minds and eventually hearts of our young men. When I was younger I had to imagine what my mock war scenario was like. Today these games provide us with graphics (stunning I might add), sounds, and extremely realistic scenarios. I wonder how teenage minds process this. Does it hinder their growth? Does it push the envelop of reality and understanding in their minds? I have played some of the modern first person shooter games. They are engaging, real, and extremely realistic. I know for me, I have t take breaks. I might go days or weeks between playing…why because I have other responsibilities. Playing games like this everyday would impact me (not trying to make a general statement that applies to all). So for me I can recognize what the game play does. I wonder how many of our teenagers this impacts too?
I wonder in a world that has every relationship scenario in mock form being broadcast in some for of media, what impact this has on the teenagers mind. I mean when I was in a teenager the best you could hope for in the form of relationship drama included mid-day soap’s and if your lucky talk shows. Today’s teen’s have a plethora of shows available to them that explore the various nuances of relationships. It seems that if someone shows me how to do something, I will do it the same way they did. It’s how humans learn. What about relationships? Again I am no expert, but I wonder if we too observe and they repeat. I would speculate YES. So could it be a stretch to consider that media impacts teenage relationship expectations? No.
So What Do We Do?
Well as I eluded too, in the previous post (see above), I want to dig in and look at how this has happened. I believe parenting is area of focus that could yield a few answers. I wonder if we as adults are so focused on our careers, social statuses, and life’s that we have neglected in someway to care for the gifts the Lord has given us. It’s an easy trap to fall into. You work, you do well, you get a raise. You then purchase a bigger home for your expanding family, purchase a few toys (you have to enjoy life) and suddenly you realize that you are living just with in your means. You get another raise…which requires some additional time in the office…you assume more financial responsibilities. You suddenly realize that you don’t have time to read to your children, play army with your sons or even let your daughters bring your make believe cakes. Your too busy for that, but thankfully our society has a solution for this. If was as parents can’t spend time with our kids, then the people who program shows are more than willing. Suddenly our kids are watching and learning from some complete stranger who may or may not share our views on faith. They see behavior that is modeled that we may not approve and for that matter would not approve of. It goes unchecked because we are too busy with work and are too engaged in the rat race.
You see, Satan does not need to launch an all out offensive against us to derail our spiritual and family growth. Apathy can take care of that. Apathy says who cares. Apathy says I could care less. Apathy is a result in some cases of our business and our false ranking in priorities.
So what do we do? Change! Change what you are doing. Take a look at your situation. Pray about it. Are you too busy? Are you investing in your kids? Are you hanging with your wife? If you take the time to evaluate your life and find that you are out of balance, then perhaps you can do something different. Say no to the rat race. Downgrade your home and resulting financial obligations. Do whatever it takes to spend time…real time with your family. Apathy won’t go away completely, there is always some sort of taste of it in a teenager’s life; however as a result of you shifting your priorities, you will model good life change for the next generation. If you need help, seek out the local church. Get involved…join a life group. Do something else besides waiting. Waiting for change without taking appropriate steps towards it will not yield anything.