It is family that will change the world

It has been my observation for some time that we have a very bizarre disconnect in our culture between the way we treat our children and the adults they become. On one hand, when we run across an adult with emotional, mental or substance abuse problems and they share the traumas of their childhood, we are sympathetic. We can see the line between neglect, humiliation, abuse, a failure to protect, etc and the problems which this person has as an adult.

On the other hand, we somehow seem to think that children will survive all manner of things from being dumped in a crowded daycare for 12 hours a day at 6 weeks, to watching violent and sexual entertainment, to being bullied at school without any serious damage being done. It’s as if we as a society seem to think that as long as our children are not subject to permanent bodily harm and have adequate exposure to education and enrichment activities, we’ve done our job. There’s no serious consideration given to the sort of people we are raising and the effect that masses of people raised without adequate attention, nurturing, values and compassion will have on our society. Even when we claim to be advocating for kids, we have a hard time connecting the children of today with the adults they will become. We speak of children as the future, as if they were magical beings who can set things right by virtue of compelling the adults around them to behave well so as not to upset the children’s cuteness, not out of concern for the sort of adults they will one day be.

We have compassion for damaged people on the back end while refusing to do anything to stop the activities which cause this damage to begin with. Adults rule, the kids will be alright and families are whatever the adults want them to be. Continue reading “It is family that will change the world”

Christians as a “Creative Minority”

I came across a great quote today from Pope Benedict which presents a way of thinking about living an authentic Christian life in our modern, western world:

We do not know what the future of Europe will be. Here we must agree with Toynbee, that the fate of a society always depends on its creative minorities. Christian believers should look upon themselves as just such a creative minority, helping Europe to reclaim what is best in its heritage and thereby to place itself at the service of all humankind. (See the whole article by Benedict here.)

Toynbee was a British historian who looked at history as a series of rising and falling cultures. In his understanding, cultures are shaped by the particular challenges their culture faced. The role of the “creative minority” was to offer solutions which addressed the challenges of the times. There’s a very interesting and long discussion to be had regarding how this works, however, I have kids to take care of so I’m going to cut it as short as I can. Continue reading “Christians as a “Creative Minority””