Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Is the pressure to succeed in work or trying to make it to Hollywood and Professional Sports destroying family values and taking the place of religion

The topic of God, faith, and family values are issues that are, and always will be enormous topics of conversation and controversy.  I am not a very religious person, but I do have faith in something.  I do believe that there is some ‘thing’ guiding our lives along its current path.  I do enjoy the theology and origins behind each religion, and I take bits and pieces from each that I find helpful when it comes to my own set of morals and ethics.  I also had an excellent upbringing about manners and how people should be treated.

I bring this up, because I have often heard the argument, that the amount of “Godlessness” and our current way of life in this country may be foreshadowing our fall from power.  I actually believe that our way of life may be hurting us more than we realize. 

When I think of religion, I think of a code of ethics and rules and standards of being a good person.  I also think of families who practice together, and come together over a similar cause and reason.  I think of people going to Churches, Mosques, and Temples together, as families.  

This is where I think our culture today is hurting us.  Our society has moved away from family values and more towards the drive for success, we are a capitalist country and it appears to onlookers that we almost always look out for ourselves, before others.  In our drive for money and power, we often need to overwork or even move away from loved ones after college in order to make those dreams a reality.  People are working 40-60 hours a week, possibly more for single parents. 

Is this obsession with work and money stunting ethical and social growth among kids today?  This is a tough argument, because I feel the need to support the family is very important and the way our economy is right now means that a parent must be absent in order to put food on the table, and a roof over the heads of their children, so it is a double edged sword.  

Do they A: leave the kids to work extra 40-60 hours a week, in order to provide yourself and them a life with extra money and possibly leave them open to gangs, peer pressures and too much television and inactivity/lack of exercise, and hope you are not too tired to check their school work and try to connect with them on a personal level.

Or B: work enough to pay bills, and scrape by and hope that you are doing the right thing by at least giving them a person to look up too, even though you and the kids aren’t living the life you had pictured.

Without a constant driving force in children’s lives, like a parent or a religion to follow, how are they learning the basic human principles of treating people with respect and learning human nature's "Natural Laws."  (American Defense League definition)

There is less time being spent with adults, and more time being spent with peers at the same age and mental maturity, there is no one, or anything saying “don’t do that, or say that,” because their friends do not know any better either, so actions are going unpunished and unchecked.  Kids with no where to turn for role models, are looking to gangs for guidance and money, or they are looking at the television saying, “I want to be like that person and live like this and throw money around.”  So instead of spending more time on studies, kids are spending more time on athletics or changing themselves physically and mentally, hoping to be like the people they see on television. 

For a tiny percentage it works out, but where are all of the kids going to go after failing to make millions in the entertainment industry, they have no skill sets for the real world now, and some will be able to turn back to families, but others get lost in the obsession and end up in jail or fall into the drug lifestyle and never recover. 

If this way of life continues, I believe that the outsourcing of jobs and the fall of our economy will continue, unless we can find a way to revitalize our education systems and then provide more money for youth mentoring programs, and provide more tools to children and teens on every economic level.  

I’m not taking sides that a religion needs to be enforced daily, it is a “Free Country,” and you may practice how you like, but there are those out there who blame everything on not having a religion for guidance.  On the other side of the fence, there are those who are anti-religion, their reasoning is the chaos and the amount of pain, suffering and death that occurs during religious conflicts around the world.  Some also believe that religion is corruptive and greedy, which is safe to say, because in the past, major religions and major clergy have taken advantage of the poorer masses before, but there still needs to be something, or some kind of structure for kids to follow, or it could end in complete chaos.

What would you say is causing the breakdown of “Family Values” after hearing these other arguments?

Is it the American obsession with money and fame and the drive to succeed even if it means abandoning loved ones?  Or is it the lack of some sort of faith or religion and an absence of any thoughts of sinning?  Or is it a lack of a common goal, or a glue that holds or brings a society together.  Lastly is it the absence of parents and a strict upbringing full of lessons about life, taught to help and guide children and teens along a path of ethics, good will and mutual respect for everyone? 

Whether it be religious or monetarily related or even something family oriented, I believe that something needs to change in the way that this generation of children are being raised, because right now, they are being raised by television networks with celebrities and a money driven society backing it up, that say it is ok to act this way.  


Australia Scott said...

Allow me to be somewhat arrogant for a moment: My parents were always off working. I was never embracing of a religious faith. I was involved with friends growing up who experimented with drinking and sex. I watched a whole lot of bad TV. Family dinners were a 1950's myth to us. And I turned out just fine. I think kids now are just stupider than they were even a few years ago. I cant begin to understand why, but despite similar circumstances, this newest crop of kids is really just kinda messed up. Any ideas?

DesertFox said...

I am a product of the 50s with mother and father working and leaving the children with a few written instructions on the counter from mom as what and what not to do after school. With little supervision my friends and I did just about what we wanted to after school. By the time I was in Junior High the Pot craze had hit and my friends and I were into Jimmy Hendricks and Jim Morrison of the Doors. By the mid 60s I was walking with Alice and the Rabbit in “White Room”. I got heavily involved with the Timothy Leary movement and the League for Spiritual Discovery and using LSD to free the mind. My friends and I tripped for 4 years straight with "Turn on, tune in, drop out.” Some was good, some was bad, it devastated my school work and many other interests I had previously had. The point is I told my folks anything I wanted to during those years and latter in college while following the Yaqui way of Knowledge while trying to study for exams on local psychedelic mushrooms that grew prolifically around the farmland where I went to college. Nobody was ever the wiser in my family. Later after college and the hippie movement that showed great promise for sexual freedom and letting go of the old values of what kinds of sex were ok and what was not. Bi and Gay sex were just kind of accepted by many in the movement.

The point by Logan that the pressure to “succeed in work” for my parents to gain "material" goods they wanted after "WWII" is very valid. The baby boomers be it and only child (usually 3-4 siblings in most families) were all thrown into the mix of the "New Era" public schools, TV, Rock Concerts the whole enchilada. This same life-style is still persisting today although a lot of parents seem to be spending more time with their children and being advocates for the “not so many born types" like trans kids or all variations of sexual pref in between. Some are even adept at seeing the bottom line their child is telling them and can tell when their kid is stoned out of their mind!

The question of pursuing organized sports for “fun and profit” tends to cater to the children that can succeed in that arena and somewhat ignores the others. Many kids I taught in 7th grade a few years back were convinced they would need no education since they were obviously 5'4" inches and 100 or so pounds of basketball playing might. They were destined to be sports stars and make a lot of money! Unfortunately the reality is it never happens for 99% or the same for becoming a movie star. There are forces at play in those arenas that dictate more than just sheer talent to succeed. Today with “global warming” issues and the continued “toxification of our planet” what are the issues our children should be concentrating their energies on, many Universities promote the sports budget way above the science research budget. Which one is going to save the planet when the chips fall?

My advice since I did somehow survive the "drug culture” however is "Do not do Drugs". I could have easily been brain damaged as others I have known or just died young from drugs or aids. Drugs tend to occupy your life and get you off track from your goals. I still have had to fight Hep-C for 30 years and that is not even throwing in the possibilities for a co-infection with HIV virus. Life is dangerous enough without upping the odds with contracting a virus, they are tough stuff biologically speaking! Once you have invited a virus into to your body by not practicing safety first you can not just uninvite the unwanted guest, it is there for life! In conclusion, I spent 15 or so years living on the edge and another 30 living a clean, safe lifestyle. I will be dealing with “the damage” of the under supervised, unsafe years for the rest of my present life.