From One Small Barking Dog
My own generation of Americans (baby boomers) suffers from a particularly virile form of narcissism. In our quest for personal fulfillment, we have failed to both teach and know our children well. Truly, our deprioritization of our own offspring is one of the great tragedies of late twentieth century America. The effects are staggering, and I’m not just talking about broken homes. It goes much deeper than that. The cessation of intergenerational narrative is at the core. The exchange of story has been one of the most important roles of family life. But getting involved in that exchange means sacrificing time, listening, and value that our children are actually worth the effort. A few days ago, I was at a Christian conference and had just ended a talk about creating sacred space outside the four walls of our churches. I didn’t focus the talk on young people, but one father came up to me afterward and plied me with questions about what kind of music he should let his kids listen to, what kind of media, films, TV programs, etc. I was comforted that he was evidently having an epiphany moment that he might need to be involved in these sort of things, but the attitude was still trying to protect them from their own culture, their own stories. It’s amazing how rarely I hear parent’s ask how they can dialog and actually share life with their children, how they can enter their offspring’s worlds, find out the stories their children are actually living, and earn the right to tell their own stories. We are truly relationally challenged as a nation.