For many years, I taught private piano and voice lessons in a very wealthy area of California. Rarely did I find the parents involved meaningfully in the lives of their children. They were too busy working their two high-paying jobs, as well as attending unnecessary high-brow social occasions to which the children, of course, were not invited. Most of the children were brought up by nannies because the parents did not have time to bring them up themselves. In almost all cases, the nannies were from foreign countries and did not speak English. The children did not speak the languages of their nannies, and no effort was made for either party to learn the language of the other.
The parents placed their children in numerous activities that they had the money to pay for, seemingly to take them of their backs. The children, involved in ballet, lacrosse, musical theatre, volleyball, etc. often received only four or five hours of sleep each night. Actual parental contact with their children was minimal. In one case, the mother did not even know my name six months after I had been teaching her award-winning son how to sing, and had been showing up at their home on a weekly basis.
On the other side of the socio-economic spectrum, we find a similar disregard for the sanctity of family love. Consider the preponderance of foster children, emancipated children, and homeless children. I have spoken with homeless teenagers who were so eager to emancipate at the age of fifteen, that their concept of living indoors had become associated exclusively with abuse, neglect, violence, violation, and bondage. The speech I gave in the previous post deals with this phenomenon, which I have experienced first-hand.
Because I met these remarkable young people at a very difficult time in my life, when I myself was homeless and struggling to survive outdoors, I was inspired to to write a musical about the effects of homelessness on the youth of today’s America. I honestly never dreamed I would be ever be able to finish an entire musical – book, music & lyrics – at this time time in my life. But I did, because I was exactly that motivated, and that inspired, by these Kids. What was so inspiring was the immense love that these Kids held for one another – a form of love they had never found anywhere else. In their unity, one to another, they developed ideals toward the kind of universal love that could well save the entire human race.
Why on earth should today’s young people have to leave their birth families in order to awaken to these first-time experiences of love? Why have we permitted our sense of family and birth community to disintegrate to the extent that love cannot be provided first of all in the first places of our lives? I have seen some of these Kids absolutely freak out at the idea of living indoors. When a well-meaning social worker recommends an indoor living situation, it cannot help but remind them of the only indoor living situation they have ever known. There, the ungodly treatment that they suffered at the hands of their so-called parents had scarred their capacity to live inside, rather than outside — possibly for the rest of their lives.
America has simply forgotten how to love. We seem to have lost sight of a few very basic standards that will dramatically improve our national morale as soon as we choose to re-implement them. A chain is only as strong as the weakest link. A house divided cannot stand. The Good Shepherd does not go after the ninety-nine sheep who remain in the fold, He goes after the one who is lost.
Yet we split our houses in half at the drop of a dime. We toss our aging “weak links” into poorly run, dehumanizing retirement homes. We throw our “lost sheep” to the wolves so as not to have to cast our blinded eyes upon the sight of the pain in theirs. We have become a nation of self-serving pleasure-seekers, when we would profit immensely from redirecting our energies away from the pursuit of wasteful pleasures, and toward the love of our neighbors, of ourselves, and of the God of Love. We have become, as predicted in 2 Timothy 3:4, “lovers of pleasure, rather than lovers of God.” That we have not yet been completely consumed in the colossal consequences of our misdirected love is astonishing. I think it’s high time we opened our eyes and realized what is going on in the shattering of the spiritual fabric of an entire generation.
It would not be a burdensome matter for us to cease burning bridges with such futilities as identity politics, liberal bashing, political correctness, White nationalism, and pointless flirtations and arguments on Facebook. Why not become far less concerned with recreation, and far more concerned with creation itself? Are we not all born with creative power to change, in the very likeness of the Creator who gave us all birth? We have the power within us to create a new and better world for ourselves and for our children! Why are we wasting our precious time doing anything else?
So – call me fanatical or reactionary or whatever you want to label this kind of thinking. In my mind, of course, I am nothing of the kind. This is neither a conservative statement nor a liberal statement. It is a statement of hope. I will confess that I hope not to have to express this position more than once. But I express the reality of this hope as one who is old enough to remember when America was a compassionate nation.
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