If there is one thing that every man and woman has in common, it is that we have an active mind, that is actively learning and growing in one direction or another. Every single one of us is built very similiarly, yet not one of us is the same. It is these things that I must keep in mind when speaking or writing about touchy subjects. I must admit that it can be difficult to have empathy for certain views in this world, no matter how widespread or accepted those views might be.
We are in the age of information. What I mean by that is that we can conjure up every single piece of information about anything that we wish, just by clicking a button. Not long ago that would have been unheard of. However we may be drowning in endless amounts of information, wisdom can be hard to come by. Very seldom do I leave a conversation with someone of my age and come away with wisdom, as I would an elder. I often wonder why that is. It seems to me that children are now raised by technology, not by parents. This raising of technology has, in my eyes, warped the viewpoints and ideologies of today’s youth.
I was asked not long ago by a friend of mine, we’ll call him Greg. Anyways, he inquired of me what was the worse thing to ever have happened to me, in the 24 years that I have been on this Earth. I asked for clarity to the question, such as did he want to know the worse thing that had ever happened to me or the worse thing that I had ever seen. Thinking for a moment, he asked for both.
I gave him my answers: On Easter Sunday, I cannot remember my age, my father had recently become addicted to methamphetamines and he was often violent. However, on this day he went further than anyone should, he pulled out a pistol and threatened to kill my mother, my sister, myself, and himself. That was the single worse thing to ever happen in my life.
The worse thing I had ever seen, I was 17 in November of 2006. My mother and father were divorced, my father was living in a two bedroom apartment on the north side of town. I had gone there earlier in the day searching for him, because he often called several times a day. I looked everywhere but the spare bedroom, it never occurred to me to look there. My mother felt that we all needed to go to his apartment, she knew something bad had happened. So, we all got into her car and went, it was my mother, my sister, my brother in law, and myself. My brother in law and I walked into the apartment, looking anywhere for him. This time, I opened the door to the spare bedroom, to find that my father had hung himself in the closet with a coax cable.
Greg didn’t know what to say about that, he asked me simply, “How do you go on?” I don’t fully remember my response because that question caught me off guard. In light of all the things that have happened in my life, I do wonder about the answer to that question. Greg then asked me if I had forgiven my father, to which I responded, of course.
The way I was raised, no child should ever have to endure the pain that comes with a broken home. But in the end, I would never be as open or as thoughtful as I am today, had those things not happened. We all have ways of dealing with tragedy, to allow the wounds to heal into scars. The only answer that I can now give, as to how I go on, is hope. If I did not have hope, I would have decayed to fall down the same hole my father did. Broken homes breed broken lives, but I have chosen to not allow that rule to define me. It is in my Faith in Christ and my hope for a better future that I can continue on towards that future.
Perhaps Greg thought that I was going to answer that my divorce was the worse thing or that my ex wife taking my son 1,700 miles away was the worse thing. I could tell by his expression that he was not ready to hear what I had told him about my life. This lead into a deep conversation, as he was having trouble forgiving people who had wronged him in the past. I told him that when all is said and done, you must let go of the past for yourself, to continue to grow as a person. We cannot live stuck in the detestable emotions that can accompany our scars. We must search our past to see if there is a lesson to be learned and move on.
Now, you might be wondering what that story has to do with what I began on. I have learned a lot of life’s lessons in some of the hardest ways possible, even facing possible death. What I find of today’s youth is that they are so sheltered by the warm embrace of technology and so desensitized that they don’t understand many of the complexities of this life. When you’re raised embedded into your computer, your video games, your tv, your facebook… you are not going to learn anything from life. I am by no means saying that anyone should learn the way I had to, no child should have to see the things that I saw. What I am saying is that kids need to go out and live life, not watch it on a television or simulate it through a video game. We cannot continue this trend and still hope to function as a society: a society with too much information and not enough wisdom. Parents need to spend time with their kids, take them camping, go for walks, sit down and really talk about the important things in life. We need to teach our kids what we know. Don’t let technology raise our kids, we can do better.
They call this generation the boomerang generation, because they often come right back home after not making it in the real world. I believe it has a lot to do with the fact that they are not prepared for the world. They see a simple, easy world when watching the tv, they escape any true reality when they play video games. We are failing our children if we do not continually play an active part in their development into an adult. Life is hard, the world is difficult and it’s best that you impart that knowledge to them while they’re still in your arms because when they are adults they’re going to be making decisions for themselves. Life doesn’t give you a trophy for just participating. It simply kicks you square in the rear if you don’t know how to cope.