Where is our society headed?

In light of the tragedies of this past week, I felt compelled to write this, though I know I may be in the minority and may not go down on anyone’s “favorite” list.  In fact, some of you may even un-“like” me, but that really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.  Nothing really does.  People, living according to God’s purpose and eternity are the only things that should matter.

A few weeks ago, many of my friends on Facebook were circulating a funny video about “First World Problems.”  Albeit hilarious (my husband and I joked about it for several days), there are many people in our great country that really do act that way, and it’s not only sad but frightening.  Frightening?  Yes!  My children are growing up in this very society, and this is where their future is headed.  And that’s frightening.

Now, I’m not saying that this particular shooting in Connecticut had anything to do with my thoughts on this (nor the mall shooting nor the theater shooting), but I still think it’s an important thought to get across.  The reason I am bringing this up is because the shooter was identified as having been mentally ill, and I’m sick, so so sick of hearing that every mass shooter we have had lately has been mentally ill as an excuse.  Don’t get me wrong.  I do understand mental illness to some capacity, as I have had a few family members diagnosed with it, and I know it’s real.  But what’s the underlying causes of some of these chemical imbalances and other issues?  Why are the instances of mental illness so much bigger in these first world countries than in others?  So, it got me thinking of possibilities on some of the possible causes (I know some instances are completely unpreventable and not caused by this, so I emphasize “some”)…

My mother-in-law seems to suspect that diet and chemicals are to blame.  She explains that we constantly breathe, wear, use and consume toxins (like pesticides, food coloring, chemicals and other additives) and are overly vaccinated.  While I do agree with her, I think this problem goes even deeper than that.  We, as a society, have gotten away from disciplining and guiding our children. (Don’t go nuts on me and think I mean beating your children to death.  To discipline means to guide and instruct, and there are various ways in which to do so.)

Discipline your son, and he will give you comfort; he will bring delight to your soul. (Proverbs 29:17)

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

Sadly, many parents just allow their children to do whatever they want, and others ignore them completely and allow others, such as teachers, to “deal” with teaching their children.  That is completely wrong on many levels.  Children were not meant to go at it alone.  They are foolish, by definition, and they are supposed to be.  They are kids learning how to be human beings.

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him. (Proverbs 22:15)

People are leaning more and more towards acquiring “junk” and devices rather than a good daily dose of face-to-face social interaction, human contact and service to fellow man these days, and I think that is a breeding ground for problems.  We’re too busy as parents (or lazy or careless) and so we provide them with “substitutes” (like these devices and other unnecessary “stuff”).  Many kids are left to fend for themselves and make many big decisions alone for the most part.  I know I would have gone mad if that had happened to me over the span of my young life, and I might end up having “First World Problems” as an adult.  We put more value on to-do lists, blog posts, taking family photos, careers, (fill-in-the-blank) than we do on just spending time with and teaching our kids.  Even if we don’t mean to or think those things more important, our actions speak much louder, and our poor kids are taking the brunt of it.  (I know I am guilty of it as well.)  There are no substitutes for good old-fashioned parenting.

We, as parents, are supposed to raise them, which means we must guide them in the right direction in order to make them good adult citizens of our future society.  We need to love them and teach them what is good, right, and important – what really matters in life.  If we don’t discipline them as children, they don’t magically lose that foolishness when they grow up.  In fact, it might become worse. Then as adults they try to assimilate into society and become inept and dysfunctional and feel entitled. They don’t know how not to make foolish choices.  No one taught them.

Okay, so I know that these adults are to be held accountable for their actions (Believe me, I am a BIG believer that no matter what your circumstances were growing up, you ultimately have a choice for your own behavior and how you turn out.  I don’t use my past circumstances as a crutch or an excuse and won’t tolerate many people who do. But that’s a whole other topic of which I feel I am somewhat qualified on speaking.), but at some point parents are also to blame.  We need to start taking responsibility for our children and their actions while they are young, so that we can ensure that they will become successfully equipped to be productive and capable human beings in society.

Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

If we don’t, we may have more of these tragedies to look forward to, and I am not willing to expose my kids to them. Yes, I know I can’t hide in a bubble, but it still makes me want to move to a place in which parents still care about teaching kids proper behavior and respect.  You know, a place that actually puts emphasis on family and raising adults.

 

Comments

  1. 1

    Very well said. All of these monsters have shown signs of dangerous behavior in the past but not taken seriously enough. I see it everyday how parents, especially my generation who were born in the late 70’s, let their kid do whatever they want. No responsibility and no disciplining.

  2. 2

    I cannot believe that someone educated, with VARIOUS family members who suffered, and/or still suffer of emotional issues thinks these shooters’ problem is “lack of discipline”. I can categorically guarantee you it is NOT. Discipline means nothing when you can’t see things the same way (mentally, medically speaking). I invite you and everyone interested in getting to bottom of matter, not just surface, to go to a medical trusted website, where subjects published have been researched for years and approved by the medical community such as AMA, Cornel University, Harvard Medical University, John’s Hopkins,Mayo Clinic, and so many others I have researched. I not only do NOT agree with your assessment (and that’s okay that we disagree) but this is a very sensitive and dear subject to me and it should be to you too. Within the medical issues, there are also different levels. Things are not as easy as you would like it to be.There are more grey areas than straight answers. Here is what I posted on the tragedy on FB however. It is just another point of view. I am glad you are not worried about being popular when stating your views. I NEVER worried about my popularity. And that is what I taught my kids. Instead, I chose to think for myself, to have and be able to express my opinion. And so, we both did. What I also want to add is that there are things we all can do as parents to avoid these tragedies, changing the culture we are accustomed to or in your case, the one you chose to have. I mean avoid teaching children to play with fire arms, having shooting classes or enjoy that sort of thing, even if only toys, b/c their capacity to understand what we do is very limited. But you already know that.

    Here are the posts, please read with Christ in mind:

    On the tragedy…

    The real problem is not just the “sick individual”. The real issue is the lack of gun control laws and especially enforcement. The misinterpretation and abuse of our constitutional rigths. And is also the lack of support and search for solutions for people with emotional/mental issues. And the lack of support from their families because “they are adults…”; the problem is the lack of education about emotional/mental issues, from all sides, i.e. parents, family members in general, peers, society in general and all potential emotional bullies who worry more with appearances and manage to drag with them blocks of societies, b/c no one wants to be associated with people with “mental issues”; the issue and the solutions start with us. There is no band aid that will ever fix these things. We must first acknowlege that it starts with us. With what we see on TV, movies, the little “innocent” things we don’t want to bother with, that play in a different level with younger impressionable minds. We need to take responsiblity and CHANGE. Rejection does induce pain that might cause a fragile, not so stable person to do things they would not normally do. Why is it that after so many of these , we are still blaming the “individuals” who do it? Who do we know that wants to be ostracized, hated and known for something like this and then take their own lives?

    Another post on same subject…
    Someone has said to me “that sick, horrible person” referring to the shooter in this most recent tragedy. But wasn’t he also a victim? Are we hiding behind the fact that no one wants to die, especialy like that? So what went wrong? As mad as I am for the actions this guy took, I can’t help but feel sorry for him, as well as the victims and their faimilies, granted at different levels.

    The media said “unpredictable tragedy”, but how is it unpredictable? A couple of days ago there was a shooting in a mall, last week another in a school, the US has by far the highest number of these type of tragedies…if “It takes a village to raise a child”, and we are the village(teachers, parents, friends, neighbors, family…), then how is it not our responsibility when there is mental/emotional issues involved? Are we that selfish and uneducated, collectively? I am disappointed at all of us.

    I regret that I criticized my older daughter for not allowing TV programs at the house. She was right, she decided to chose what her kids see. But even that is not enough, b/c they have to come outside to the world. We must do a lot more. It will involve sacrifice and giving up a lot of goodies and convenient gadgets, but it is time! It will involve spending less time with friends if we have young ones, instead, create “quality time” with them. It will involve not being so friendly anymore b/c society has changed, and it is not what we want, but what reality is, if we are the guardians of precious lives. Sigh. I am not sure what next but I am as everyone else devasted with this reality setting in. This too could have been prevented.

  3. 3

    Jad, I wholeheartedly agree! The saddest part is that it’s a disservice to the poor children.

  4. 4

    Kathleen,

    While I appreciate your comments, I will answer very quickly, as the intention of the post was not to start any arguments or even answer them. First of all, I am thankful for a great nation that allows for freedom of speech and freedom to think and have healthy disagreements! It’s wonderful to be able to have different view points and to share them with one another in a healthy way. We can always agree to disagree.

    On another point, I agree with some of the statements you wrote, though not all. But I think it’s best to first address that I did not state that this shooter was not disciplined nor that all mental illness is from lack of it. In fact, I said:

    – Now, I’m not saying that this particular shooting in Connecticut had anything to do with my thoughts on this (nor the mall shooting nor the theater shooting)

    BUT it got me thinking about this subject, so I had to share. Then I also said…

    – But what’s the underlying causes of SOME of these chemical imbalances and other issues? Why are the instances of mental illness so much bigger in these first world countries than in others? So, it got me thinking of possibilities on SOME of the possible causes (I know SOME instances are completely unpreventable and not caused by this, so I emphasize “SOME”)…

    So in those 2 statements, I said “some” of the cases and I did not say that this was the case with the Connecticut shooter.

    One thing I know we both agree on is that we do both feel sorry for the shooter. Probably for different reasons that you, but at least we share the sentiment. And we do agree on your last paragraph. In fact, it is almost exactly in the same lines as my entire post.

  5. 5

    I am thrilled that we were able to have this discussion in a healthy, yet passionate manner, but most thrilling is the fact that you did show compassion for the sick individuals as well as that you understood that they were sick, therefore not really accountable for their actions. And I appreciate that you detailed the explanations in order to correct my view of your statements. And finally, I love the fact that you are okay with being in the minority as I have always been, because we are. And that requires courage!

  6. 6

    Thanks. However, I never alluded to the fact that they were not really accountable for their actions.

    On another subject of guns (you brought that up in your first comment), I like what a friend of mine wrote about smarter and tougher gun control laws: “I believe gun control policies fail to recognize that criminals, not guns, are the root cause of crime and violence in America. Criminals, by definition, violate laws. Gun control restrictions punish honest, law-abiding citizens who want to protect themselves and their families. Criminals will obtain guns in illegal ways if they have to, so existing gun laws do little to prevent violent and dangerous individuals from doing violent acts.”

    On the subject of kids (boys) playing with guns, I think it is almost unpreventable. Almost. We have a boy that we never introduced weapons to, yet after a certain age he started pretending objects were guns and other weapons – he probably picked up on other kids’ at the park or such. I never believed it before, but I think an inclination to weapons might be an innate quality among boys. It may even be healthy (just speculation). We teach him that there are rules (even with toy guns), so that he learns the right ways early on and hopefully becomes second nature to him. I also won’t allow violent video games in our home. I think I’m safe to say that MOST boys play with toy guns and weapons growing up, yet MOST of them don’t turn out violent or criminals. It’s only a small percentage. So, I don’t think playing guns as a child has much of an effect on gun violence as an adult. Especially if that is not what their entire world revolves around, and their parents are active participants in their lives. I could be wrong, just my own thoughts here.

    I read this very hilarious blog once (link below) that talked about this very subject. How she and her friend made it a point to treat their boys and girls in a gender neutral way, but they still ended up using objects as dolls (girls) and weapons (boys). It’s really worth the read (and laugh).

    Here’s one but not the one I had in mind: http://crappypictures.com/guns-swords-yay/
    Here’s the one I had in mind: http://www.scarymommy.com/boys-vs-girls/

    Here is another good article: http://tentpegs.patrickmead.net/?p=1860

  7. 7

    I would like to share this letter from a mother about the recent tragedy:

    http://anarchistsoccermom.blogspot.com/2012/12/thinking-unthinkable.html

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