The Generation Gap

R. J. Findley, Jr.
Longview, Texas

Much has -been written on the above subject, and some seem to get the idea that it is something new. Most agree that it is a rebellious attitude against not only parental authority, but any rules that restrict their actions and behavior. This attitude is not something new;, it just has intensified in the last two decades. The wisest man of his day said, "Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it." Some have taken the position that not all will turn out as they should, but generally speaking, most of them will. I do not agree with this line of thinking. I believe if to be all inclusive, and that parents will be charged with the responsibility of what their children become. This is set forth in the message sent to Eli when he said "Because you knew the iniquity of your sons, and restrained them not, your office as high priest will be taken away."

Many of us have followed Solomon's advice as best we could, and when our child does not measure up to the mark, we wonder why they have not lived up to the training given them. Now all this seems very fair, but isn't there a flaw somewhere? I am constrained to believe that despite our best efforts, the fault lies with us. We simply missed the mark somewhere down the line. We need to resurvey our lives and the examples we set before them. Have we sometimes said "don't do as I do; do as I say to do? So, they hear us lying at the picture show window and saying Johnny is not quite twelve and so get in at half price. Johnny knows how old he is and could get the idea that lying sometimes pays off. Our children see us 'doctoring' our income tax report, running red lights when we think no cop is watching, violating city ordinances on the grounds they are no good to start with. They hear mother telling Mrs. Smith how lovely she looks in her new frock or hat, and hearing her real opinion later. Oh, I know that was a little white fib but it did, not hurt anyone and it made Mrs. Smith feel real good.

They grow up in an atmosphere of paradoxes. They see their father surrendering his position as head of the house to mother who becomes the family quarter-back. She calls all the plays. Mother works when she should be a keeper at home, father is so engrossed with his job and other interests that he is not around when the family really needs him. All these make impressions on young minds which are not easily erased. There is no family life. Home has become a roosting place at night and a launching pad to take off from in the morning. As a result, children see the futility of it all and in their frustrations; cry out for a better way of life. They are seeking changes that not only better their homes, but better men to govern us, from the peace justice even up to the white house.

January 27, 1972