I am going to rant a little bit. This is a mashup of thoughts in my mind this morning that are largely incoherent. But if you see what I see, feel free to share.
This idiotic debate over why our teenagers feel the need to take guns to school rages on.
The problem is that everyone is looking for the one, single issue, that once resolved, will end the violence. Violent video games. Absentee fathers. The proliferation and availability of firearms. Social status. Economic status. Domestic situation.
I think the problem is actually a conglomerate of problems that have simmered for decades leading up to this. But I think the main one is that teenagers simply aren't nurtured the same way previous generations were.
For example, when I was young, this time of year, I might be helping Dad on Saturdays, getting ready for mowing season. During summer, Saturday's were spent mowing, which was an all day job because mowers weren't as big and fancy as they are now. During the fall, I spent Saturdays helping Dad fell trees for firewood, which involved cutting the tree up, busting the wood (with an ax, not a hydraulic log splitter), and stacking it. During the winter, Saturdays were spent getting enough of the firewood and kindling in the house for the following week.
Could it be that the technological advances that turned our kids into couch potatoes or thrill seekers on Saturdays have had a detrimental effect?
"But Scott, that has nothing to do with it. These kids are mentally disturbed by their social situation."
Baloney! If you went to high school with me, you know that I was socially inept (I still am, I am an INTJ). You know that I had a mediocre intelligence, and mediocre grades to reflect it. I hated high school and couldn't wait to get out. More than once, the stress of it produced what could have probably been diagnosed as mental illness (by our modern psychological evaluations, which I consider to be complete bovine excrement as well). Did I ever bring a firearm to school and shoot it up? Nope. Were firearms available? Absolutely!
See, after the Saturday work was over, Dad and I would sometimes go shooting. He taught me how to hold a firearm. How to load a firearm. How to chamber a round. How to discharge the firearm. And most importantly, how to respect a firearm. Pistols. Rifles. Shotguns. Even muzzle loaders. Heck, even bows and slingshots.
Something was present during my generation, and previous generations, that is inconspicuously absent from the upcoming generations. I think the thing that is absent is direction.
Kids need direction. Not just education, direction. I don't mean they should be told what to pursue in their lives. I mean they should be nurtured in such a way that they aren't just floating on the current like rudderless ships during their adult lives.
What about the Church?
Well, God doesn't change, so why has our society changed. Personally, I have found that the moral bearing, the direction that society seems to be going, is a good indicator of the efficacy and potency of the Church's presence within that society. I'm no proponent of trying to enforce Christian morality through the legal system, but since the Church has ceased becoming Gospel spreaders and disciple makers, and is instead become a conduit of God's provision and promises of comfort and security for our earthly lives, they have become lethargic and impotent. Think about the spiritual memes you might have seen on social media over the past week. I've seen lots and lots of memes regarding God's blessings and provision. Lots of images of landscapes and butterflies. Lots of prayer requests regarding sicknesses and providing comfort during calamity. And those things are okay. But I simply cannot recall a single meme that address the soteriological or disciplinary aspects of Christianity. Heck, I cannot recall a meme that addressed any theological aspect of Christianity. Just the typical "feel-good" memes. I have not seen a single meme where anyone has recognized their difficulties as God's teachings or discipline.
Everyone is the innocent victim, and needing God's deliverance and comfort, as if the preservation of our fragile emotional states was the most important thing. I want to read the Facebook status that says, "This hurts like crazy. But if the whip that is producing the pain is being held by the Savior, then please don't stop lashing me until what You desire in me is accomplished."
But this is really a spiritual post, so back on point... Children need more than a roof, food, iPhone, and a Playstation. They need direction. I think the reason they are doing what they are doing, from eating laundry detergent, to putting their arms on hot stoves, to cutting themselves, to this so-called "eraser challenge", to killing their classmates, is due to a lack of direction. This entails so much more than just the single issue we feel will end the problem once and for all. The reason they have seemingly went wild is a lack of direction, spiritually, morally, socially, and even politically.
And I don't mean to get too political, but even liberals have to recognize that the young generation seems over-zealous and willing without reservation to sign on to any cradle-to-grave care the government has to offer them, without fear of repercussion. The whole idea that government may come knocking one day, expecting something in return (perhaps more than they will want to pay), seemingly has not occurred to them. The concept that the government can easily turn a society that is even only partially dependent on government provisions, making that society ripe for serfdom, is completely absent from their minds. In my mind, I can connect this to a lack of direction.
Anyway, rant over, lest I stray too far into politics.