Over thirty years ago I found myself speaking to a group of high school seniors on what was called career day. At that time I was Vice President of a Fortune 1000 company and probably had their respect. At the end of my talk one of the students asked me the following question. Do I need a college education to have a job like yours? I immediately noticed most of the students perk up in anticipation of my answer. They were on the edge of their seats—waiting.
My response to them was not as important as my take away. The question asked was really not the real one—at least not as articulated. The real question they wanted answered was this—how can I escape the time and pain I must endure to achieve the desired result? I left this experience thinking that we are raising a generation of young people who lack patience and the ability to apply critical thought—and that is exactly where we are today. In our relentless pursuit of the easy way we have missed the benefits brought about by the struggle.
How did this happen? I believe it has to do with a deliberate movement away from our roots. Let me be clear here in saying I am not talking about our roots as a nation—I am referring to our Christian roots and the basic understanding of what our wonderful God is teaching us from His word. It is virtually impossible to study the Bible and not understand the relationship between adversity and character building. It is one of the most profound messages contained from Genesis to Revelation.
This idea is found in every aspect of life on planet earth. From a moth succumbing to the pressure of the cocoon to the oak tree facing the storm that causes its roots to go deeper—it is everywhere in God’s creation. The bottom line is that we want to gain without the strain.
Add that together with the evolution of technology and the ease with which information is now available and it is no wonder we find ourselves where we are. Many today are ideological slaves—people who form opinions based upon air as they lack the patience to truly uncover deeper truths. Young Christians entering college are being transformed into agnostics or even atheists based on the lastgood sounding argumentthey were given. Many lack the ability to withstand this because they do not have the power of the Holy Spirit deeply embedded in their life.
Dear ones, it is at this point I really need you to hear my heart. The solution to this dilemma does NOT lie in our institutional structures or government. Our government is, and always has been, a representation of the sum of its parts. You can blame the institution all you want but it is not the problem. It’s about the parts—you and me—and what we have become.
We have stood by and watched the deliberate attempt by organized powers to destroy everything God helped this nation to value. Socialism, communism, a one-world government mentality desperately needs to reduce its people to cattle. “We are all the same” they will say. They take away any incentive to excel and convince us that average deserves to be rewarded. We keep lowering the bar and then turn around and reward those who don’t meet it.
It's brilliant when you think of it. If you do not want people to think, or strive to be exceptional, this is how you do it. A people in this condition can be controlled—and at the end of the day that is what this is all about.
Ok, so let me get to my motivation for writing this article—there are two important takeaways I want to leave with you. First, we need to get our head out of the fog and understand what is going on here. We need to be aware of the strategy being played out. And second, we need to be thinking about how we can prepare our kids to know how to avoid falling into the intended trap.
We do that by making sure they are truly grounded in their relationship with the Lord. Going to church, being in a youth group, even leading worship, does not always mean a person is deeply grounded. Make sure they have a deep and growing intimacy developing with the Lord. Encourage them to have devotional times every day, reading the Word, praying and praising God. Help them to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit in their life—the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead.
In addition, as prepared as we might think they are, think long and hard about where you send them off to college. Here is a recent Facebook post I wrote that got a lot of attention;
WHY would parents invest years building up their precious children in the knowledge and love of God and then PAY to send them to an institution deliberately designed to destroy everything they invested?
Perhaps most important is the necessity to understand ways we may be un-intentionally contributing to this problem. I find myself actually falling into this trap—here is what I mean:
Oh, we don’t do it that way anymore. Younger generations look at the way we do things and suggest that it does not fit their generations way of doing it. In an attempt to be hip and not offend them we adjust to their way. Here are some questions we are not asking. What if their way is wrong—even dysfunctional? What if we are abandoning methods that are professional and done with excellence to pander to a lesser, lazier way? What are we saying to them?
What if instead of giving kids what they need we keep giving them what they want. If it is true that we have generations of people now who lack patience and the ability to apply critical thought is it possible that they will continually look for ways to just get by andcut corners.
Dear friends, we must resist our temptation to lower the bar. We must call our young people to a higher level of excellence and motivate them to reach beyond their grasp. We must help them understand that God expects excellence from them and that it blesses Him when they do things well. Instead of giving fifth place trophies, motivate, encourage, inspire and train them with the understanding it is not about winning as much as doing your best. Help them understand they will not finish first in everything but they will in some things, especially the things God has equipped them for.