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To My Parents’ Generation: Please Don’t Give Up on Us

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Photo Credit: bcostin via Compfight cc

My husband and I have quickly learned that we need a way to escape from the stress of cross-cultural acclimation. What am I saying? We’ve always needed a way to escape from the stress of basic, normal life.

We’re not binge TV watchers, but when we find a show that grabs our attention, Friday nights sometimes turn into episode marathons.

Downton Abbey, Master Chef, and the The Blacklist have all been in our queue. Now we’re marching our way through all the seasons of Parenthood.

The Braverman family provides the perfect amount of drama on every level. Last night as we were watching the teenagers get themselves into inappropriate relationships and drunk driving accidents, the parents came together to raise their white flags in defeat.

They were finished—out of ideas. They had resigned to the fact that their children would just be who they wanted to be and there was nothing they could do to change it.

But Sarah stepped in and made a bold, weighty statement:

No! We don’t give up. When our kids tell us that they don’t want us, when they push us away, that’s when we have to show up. We have to talk when we they don’t want to talk. We have to be there when they tell us to leave them alone. When our kids tell us they have it all together, that’s when it’s most important to show up. We can’t give up.

Whoever wrote this scene put together some powerful words. And I think it’s true for a parent-child relationship.

But I think it’s true for my entire young adult generation, too.

I’ve thought of writing posts about my fear that 20-somethings have lost an appreciation for previous generations. We’re highly motivated but highly arrogant. We’re willing to talk about our ideas but unwillingly to take a posture of learning.

All of that sounded so cynical and gripe-y, though.

So instead, I’d like to address the generations of the 40+.

Just as I fear my peers have neglected to entertain your company, I fear that you will give up on us.

I know how we come across: Like we think we have all the answers.

We are quick to rebel against the religious traditions of our youth. We call out any hint of hypocrisy. We make no effort to guard our convictions.

Social media has provided a way for us to put our voice out there and look for others who will affirm our thoughts and feelings. And when the response is positive, well then hey, we’ve got this life thing figured out.

We appear to be pushing you away.

Joining younger, hipper churches.
Getting tattoos and accepting social drinking.
Voting Democrat, for crying out loud.

We have gone to great lengths to declare our independence from you. We are intelligent, empowered young adults. Our worldview is broader and our wallets are fatter than any generation of young adults before us.

But we are not ok. 

More college graduates are moving back home than ever before. Divorce is rampant and credit card debt is losing its shame. Lively worship is drawing crowds but producing shallow faith.

Yes, we are telling you to leave us alone…that we’ve got this. We don’t want to talk because we’ll just disagree. We just want you to leave us alone so we can figure stuff out.

But now, more than ever, we need you to show up.

We need retirees to guide us through work-related drama. We need experienced fathers and mothers to teach us how to raise children in the Lord. We need those who have questioned their faith to walk into our living rooms and guide us through our theological doubts.

We all need our hearts to be shepherded by someone wiser. This is not a need people outgrow.

So please, those of you in my parents’ generation: don’t give up on us.

Pull us into your homes. Share your stories with us. Teach us the ways that the Father has worked in your hearts.

Our perspectives may be different, and our ideologies vastly opposite, but we haven’t stopped being human. And that leaves us in a state of needing mentors.

We need you to show up. To walk across the church sanctuary and sit beside our screaming kids. To invite us over for a home-cooked meal. To model the commitment of a devoted marriage.

We’re only 20-something after all. You’ve lived a lot more life than we have. And no amount of our own confidence can keep us from falling on our faces from time to time.

We need to know that you’ll be there to wash our wounds. And that you’ll meet us in that place with your own understanding of life’s jabs and punches.

Forgive us for trying to do this on our own. Deep down we really want to be led by you.

Comments

comments

Becky WelchAugust 10, 2014 - 5:27 pm

I absolutely love this!!! God has granted you a gift with words and I am so glad you are using that gift! It blesses me daily!

CarrieAugust 10, 2014 - 6:24 pm

I’m confused. Are you saying that “Voting Democrat” is somehow pushing back against older generations? My grandparents, who served in churches their entire lives and would be 87 if they were still here, voted Democratic their entire lives. It was from them (and my own parents) that I learned how important social justice was to Jesus.

Lauren PinkstonAugust 11, 2014 - 9:28 am

Hi Carrie, so glad you commented. I wasn’t trying to suggest this at all. I’m with you–so many of the social justice lessons I have learned have come from Democrats. I didn’t mean to give this post a political slant. I simply know a lot of conservative voters who are wary of the shift in younger ideologies. Many of my readers come from a Republican background, and I wanted to disarm this fear just a tad. Thanks for your thoughts.

Lauren PinkstonAugust 11, 2014 - 9:29 am

Thanks, Becky! I know a classroom full of students who are being blessed by the gifts God has given you :)