A question that’s often voiced by grumbling adults is, “What is it with kids nowadays?” No doubt it was asked in one form or another dating back to the days of the cavemen. It’s one of those questions that never seems to go away, and it’s usually asked when some adult either finds some kid’s behavior bewildering, or strongly disapproves of it, or both.
Unfortunately, adults have a tendency to dismiss the contributions of young people as “childish” or “immature,” and not what “normal” people (whatever that is) would do. Yet the Bible contains references to children and young people. For example, there’s the phrase, “And a little child shall lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6) Or Jesus saying, “Suffer the little children to come unto me.” (Mark 10:14) Or Paul’s strong admonition to his young protégé, Timothy: “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12) And, of course, the fact that we are all “children of God.” (Galatians 3:26, among other places in the Bible)
All of this, though, brings up a strong caution for adults. Yes, we need to listen to our children and value their input, but we – we parents, we teachers, we mentors, we adults – must realize that we need to set an example for the children. We must not only say it, but do it as well. And we must also teach our children to do it and not just say it. Without a trusted adult’s guidance and example, a child may very well be lost in darkness and unable to come back to the light. With it, a child can thrive and set his or her own example.
Not long ago, I was in Frederick, and I was privileged to hear and watch a group of very talented kids sing and dance for a charity event.
Some of the kids not only sang and danced, but one girl – just barely out of middle school – wrote and performed an original song, and another girl – about to go into middle school – choreographed an original dance routine, complete with props.
The energy level among all the kids was palpable. When the call went out for kids to sign up for the event, there was no hesitation. They all said yes, no questions asked. Why did they do it? Because not only did they believe in the cause, they also learned by the example of the adults who were running the show.
So, to answer the original question, “What is it with kids nowadays?” I say, “The kids are doing just fine; it’s up to us to steer them in the right direction.”