Our Country is in Trouble. Even the Kids Know it.

In reading a recent article posted to our site about two professors pushing their warped ideology that pedophilia “maybe isn’t wrong,” I got to thinking. Lately, it feels like so much in our society is falling apart.

I hate to sound like an old person, but the longer I’m on this planet, the more degradation I see. That’s funny coming from me. For many years I was a high school teacher who had to stay both current and positive to connect to my students. Even now, having left teaching 5 years ago, I still tune into music stations featuring the latest hits, familiarize myself with the hippest apps so I know what the kids are into, and generally adopt a live-and-let-live attitude about other people’s choices and lives.

But as we age, we really do find wisdom and insight. We see patterns playing out. We see where things started and where they landed and how they’re still evolving. We see what worked and what failed miserably.

My 84-year-old mother lives in a retirement community where they all lament, together, what has happened to the world. They’ve had more time to watch the patterns and see the results. Just after the Superbowl, they all shook their heads at the halftime show, calling it filth, questioning how hip hop and rap qualify as music, and remembering the good ol’ days when the Superbowl was a family affair. Meanwhile, at 55, I could appreciate the musical icons who performed in that show and enjoy the set and the performers. I don’t condone many of the lyrics, however, as they can be blatantly misogynistic, encourage violence, and show a complete lack of respect for others. But my former students in their late 20’s and 30’s, many of whom I interact with on Facebook, commented on how this was the music of their youth, and how cool it was to hear it again. We all have different perspectives and life experiences, and those perspectives inform our reactions to different genres of music. What we grew up hearing, seeing, and learning, plays a crucial role in who we become.

It’s important to pause every now and then and take a look at what has happened to social mores in the last 50 years. Turn on TV Land or any channel showing old TV shows, and pay attention. Notice the clothing, the speech, the way people treat others – in other words, the standard conventions of society. What you will see is modesty, dignity, and respect. It reminds me of how far we have devolved in those areas in just a matter of a few decades.

Don’t get me wrong – there is much about the past that I have no wish to return to. In many ways, we are better off. But in how we treat one another, there is no comparison, and it is incredibly sad. Now we “cancel” people who don’t agree with us. We attack people online through social media apps. We care more about Instagram followers than people in our daily lives. And in an effort to be inclusive – something I wholeheartedly support – we have taken it to the extreme, where anything goes, anything is okay, and there’s no longer any agreement that something is, in fact, wrong. These two “academics” pushing pedophilia as acceptable are a perfect example.

Our kids know it and see it. I have a 29- and a 31-year-old, and both will tell you the world has gone to hell. How sad is that? When I was their age, I had so much hope and promise, and I saw the world as a beautiful place. That’s gone, even for young people. They talk about how hard it is trying to get a start in life in the midst of COVID, a volatile stock market, heavy competition for jobs, exorbitant prices, and violence everywhere they turn. They’ve witnessed the September 11 attacks, massive school shootings, the explosion of social media apps and cyberbullying, exposure to increasingly violent and questionable music and movies, a pandemic that brought down the whole world, and now a senseless attack on a peaceful country that is being played out on TV for the world to see. I can only imagine what the next 30 years will bring.

I’m aware that every generation reaches an age when they feel the world is falling apart. It used to be our grandparents who held that philosophy. But when young people look around and – having never known a better time – lament the state of our country? Well, that’s just depressing. They deserve better. We all deserve better.

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Rebecca Deurlein

REBECCA DEURLEIN IS A FREELANCE WRITER AND THE AUTHOR OF TEENAGERS 101: WHAT A TOP TEACHER WISHES YOU KNEW ABOUT HELPING YOUR KID SUCCEED (HARPER COLLINS). REBECCA WRITES FOR LOCAL AND NATIONAL MAGAZINES AND NEWSPAPERS AND LOVES EVERY MINUTE OF LIVING IN SUGAR LAND, TX. FIND HER ON AMAZON, BARNES & NOBLE, HUFFINGTON POST, OR THROUGH HER OWN BLOG A TEACHER’S GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING TEENAGERS. got