Our Young People, Our Future
By Benjamin ‘Raven’ Pressley
I cannot get off my mind how little we are doing in this country and especially the average American church for our young people. I’m not talking about giving them the latest gadget or shoes. I am talking about reinforcing good behavior and giving them an opportunity for a meaningful future in a tangible way. Investing in our young people by giving them the opportunities they need to have a successful future, a future that has great return for them and for the world they live in.
In order to do so we have got to break them free from the mainstream media’s influence on their minds. The mainstream media from Disney afternoon to the latest movies are painting a picture of ‘It is all about me’. It encourages selfishness and instant gratification. And that generation who used to think differently and knew the value of honesty, hard work and community has been effectively deleted into history. There is no sense of community. There is no connection of how everything we do is like a stone thrown into a pond, it creates ripples that affect the whole pond. There is no awareness of cause and effect. It is a throw away and disposable generation.
CONSIDER A COUPLE OF SCENARIOS:
SCENARIO 1–If something is broke it is thrown away and a new one is bought. Results: No one around to fix something because it is cheaper to replace it. As a result we lose that craftsman, that troubleshooter, that connection to what makes things tick. We lose appreciation for fine craftsmanship and industry takes note and produces more substandard products. They see the greedy profitability potential and deliberately make something break down so the consumer HAS to buy a new one. Examples, light bulbs and batteries that don’t last long, computers and phones that are no longer supported…and the list goes on. Then there is the loss of a whole strata of craftsmen out of work displaced with nowhere to go. And products continue to deteriorate in quality for something that is flashy and appears powerful on the outside but is cheaply made and powerless on the inside. It also affects our attitudes toward lasting relationships like marriage, if this marriage is broke I just throw it away and get another one with no thought of the devastation of who is affected and left behind like children. And so we have an attitude shift that this is OK and the new norm.
SCENARIO 2–I once asked a child where I was doing an early technology/survival skills/history program for “Where does hamburger and steak come from?”. Their reply, “THE STORE”. Not from a cow, THE STORE! So, what’s the big deal? The big deal is there is no connectedness to where things come from and there is no respect for life or concern on the part of the average consumer/end user. If you only care that there is something called ‘beef’ at the store for you to buy then there is no concern for the process of how it got there and you mindlessly consume whatever is put out there for sale. You don’t care about the rainforest that was mowed down to make room for the McCows in your hamburger, you don’t care that the meat was spoiled and cleaned with bleach and repackaged to look good, you don’t care that steroids inundate the meat and cause cancer and deformities to future children. Hunters are persecuted as gun owners by the media and characterized with terrorists when in reality hunting connects you to the circle of life and you respect life and the responsibility of using a firearm safely. You respect the deer you are hunting when you match your wits and mind with his. Native Americans called animals people and respected them as a people as much as their own people. Another result is no respect for life so that makes it OK to gun down your classmates and this is reinforced in video games.
SCENARIO 3– Consider how connected people are becoming more and more to the virtual world. With the internet we are constantly connected to an electronic world that is fast being accepted as more real than the physical world we actually live in. TV went from three channels to mega amounts of channels, from off the air around 10 pm or so to 24/7, children’s cartoons went from Saturday morning to 24/7 and went from making them laugh to molding their minds. Computers went from having to go to an office and sitting down at a desk to use them to a constant connection in the palms of our hands. Real friends have been replaced by a bunch of virtual friends that we don’t even know but that’s OK because we have an impressive number of them. Our self worth is determined by what Facebook people think of us. As a result many people have no actual social skills or know how to relate in a real relationship. I’m over reacting you say? Consider a news report I saw on a news TV special before of a Japanese kid who lived in a room , pasted newspaper to all the windows to shut out the sunlight, had 2 or 3 computers in his room and says he never leaves the room. He hacks for money, orders his food on-line and has it delivered, all his friends are virtual friends that he has never met and his sexual satisfaction is achieved through on-line pornography.
These are but three scenarios I could go on and on and I bet you could think of a few yourself. Don’t get me wrong I am not saying technology and such is evil in and of itself. A hammer can build a house or bludgeon someone to death. I am just saying beware of the world we are creating and reinforcing to our young.
So, what are some things we can do to expose and balance out the equation? Here are a few things I suggest that can make a huge difference in some of our lives and the lives of our young:
1) Get your children, young people, families and churches outdoors. The average person spends way too much time indoors. Get out and breathe some fresh air. Go somewhere where nature and creation are on display. Take a hike, go camping…something. It will balance your mind.
2) Go hunting or participate on a farm. Get close to animals other than that fluffy little spoiled furball you have in your house. Help in a garden or make a garden of your own. Expose kids to the process of where our food comes from. Nurture a respect for our fellow creatures.
3) Read an actual book. Don’t just wait for Hollywood to put their spin on it and make a movie. Read and plug into that theater of your mind where imaginations soar, creative juices explode, brain activity comes alive.
4) Send a young person on a mission trip even if it isn’t for spreading the gospel participate with some team working with some third world impoverished nation. It will nurture a whole new attitude of appreciation of what we have and break the ‘all about me’ attitude.
5) Create a scholarship in your church, group or civic organization or if you’re wealthy enough do it on your own. When I got out of high school my high school counselors were not there for me. I knew nothing of scholarships and grants. All I knew was I wanted to go to college and my parents were too poor to send me so I couldn’t go. Create a scholarship with some stipulations that track a young person and follow up and support them for their good behavior and choices.
6) Get a young person involved in some program that disciplines their mind, body and focus. This can be a sports team or martial arts. Particularly I endorse martial arts. It is is physical and mental. You develop your body and mind. You learn respect for your fellow human. It does not make a brawler out of you, just the opposite, it makes you confident in your own ability enough to be able to walk away from a fight if need be because you know you have nothing to prove. It also makes you able to defend yourself or someone else.
These are but a few things we can do to better our world. All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good people do nothing. We have got to be more pro-active if not bad governments and bad influences rush in to fill the void.
There are always the quiet revolutionaries who give thanks for grace in the unexpected.
There are always the real revolutionaries who know this overthrows all the pressing dark.
There are, even now, the revolutionaries who know salvation is no cheap gift; they know what they were saved for. They choose to give glory with the breaths given. They choose to be married to amazement because only amazing grace divorces souls from the dark. —Ann Voskamp
WE ARE WARRIORS
As a martial artist and a student the disciplines and philosophies of warriors of old and even now I see a code running through them all, a creed, personal rules, lines they will not cross and things they will not tolerate. This too is part of our spiritual walk as human beings. Being a warrior is less about actual physical fighting than you may think. Yes, that is part of it but only as it relates to self defense or defense of another less capable of defending themselves. Consider how you face the challenges of life. It is more than resolving the outward manifestation of the issue, is it not? Is there not a mental and spiritual warfare going on in these times? This feature is to share the warrior’s way. It is up to you how you apply it to life.—Raven
These thoughts are from Dr. Bohdi Sanders (Martial artist, Author, Philosopher):
The important thing is to be always moving forward, little by little.
Always try to improve yourself every day. Even if it seems like you are not making any progress in your journey to become a warrior, you must continue to move forward. Just as an apple tree does not produce apples overnight, you will not be able to reach perfection as fast as you may like. It is a process and it takes time. The important thing is not to give up and quit, even if it seems like you are not making improvements as fast as you would like.
Improvements come in small increments. Little by little you move forward, sometimes so slowly that you will think that you are not moving at all, but you are. After several weeks or months you will be able to look back at where you started and see the tremendous change that has taken place in your life.
There is an old Chinese proverb which states that one doesn’t plant a forest in the morning and cut logs in the afternoon. It takes time for the tree to grow. You must take care of it and keep the weeds from overgrowing it when it is young. The young tree needs water and nutrients in order to mature.
The same philosophy can be applied to your progress. You have to be patient and foster the traits and skills that you are trying to develop. Be patient and before you know it, you will find that you have improved in ways which will amaze you. The results will be worth your patience. Bohdi Sanders ~ excerpt from the NEW BOOK, The Warrior Ethos
I have a 3 part series where I give my thoughts on parenting and what I have learned through the years both married and as a single parent. Here is part 1 in that series. I encourage you to listen to all 3 parts and check out videos there on other subjects also.