Posted by: sailingspirit | May 13, 2011

Apologies to Our Gen-X Children

Apologies to Our Gen-X Children

The First Step Toward Healing of Our Sons and Daughters, Our Families,
and Our Nation


Image by Editor B via Flickr

The state of our nation today is no accident, nor is the conspicuous absence of Gen-X membership in the churches.  In order to begin rectifying things in this nation and this church body today, it is crucial we have a nation-wide, generation-wide presentation of apology akin to the Pope apologizing for the acts within the Catholic Church and the Union apologizing to the descendants of the slaves.  Though it may not immediately change anything in the physical realm, it will go great lengths to soften the hearts of tomorrow’s leaders.  The outcome of the next 30 years of this country hangs in the balance; thus the parents of Generation X must step out of pride and deferred-blame to create a Prodigal Parent situation.  Parents and grandparents:  wherever you can find your 30-something and 40-something children, go to them—go to their offices, go to their gyms, go to their bars, go to their parks, go to their shopping malls, go wherever they are—and in groups representing your generations, proclaim this to your children loud and clear, without wavering.  They will not come to you or your church, but they need to hear you say this.  This is your last chance to get Gen X back in the church:

“Sons and Daughters, we came here today with something important to say.  We love you very much, and we never intended to mislead you, but we have not done right by you nearly as much as you deserved.  Regardless of the reasons, we allowed the nation to become a disaster under our watch; we have ruined and squandered your inheritance.  In its place, we have left our messes for you to clean up, problems too large and too complicated to solve.  Furthermore, all the people and institutions we taught you to trust have betrayed you, leaving you to feel you have nowhere to turn.  You have been hurting too long, and it’s time for that to end.  So for the areas in which we failed you, we take responsibility for our actions and offer these apologies:

  • We’re sorry for paving, poisoning, polluting, clear-cutting or otherwise ruining most of the environment, because the only green we admired was in our wallets or under our country clubs. You understood the importance of stewardship as small children, yet decades after we ourselves stood up we still have not made much change in recycling, solar power, land-re-use or other considerate policies, technologies, or lifestyles.  We’re sorry we ship our garbage to third-world countries for their children to dig through for food, and rape their rainforests for wood so we can have pretty floors.  But we won’t spend the extra money to buy organic food or recycled-content plates.  We won’t stand for a scratch on our cars, nor will we stand up and spend the scratch to go electric.  We’ll buy Botox but not biofuels, and we’ll go to great lengths to fight nature instead of work with it.  The whole world watched us for leadership and to set the example, but we didn’t want to think about them or how our choices affected them.  In short, we don’t give a damn about the planet we leave behind for you, so long as it makes nice vacations for us while we’re on it.  We’ve basically told you that you can do the cleanup work and you can pay for it, too.  Sons and Daughters, this has been exceptionally selfish behavior on our part, and we have no one to blame for it but ourselves.
  • We’re sorry for worshipping Comfort and Pleasure so much that we focused more on our purchases than our problems.  We’re sorry we were more materialistic than maternalistic.  We’re sorry we taught you that success is found in, and defined by, what you lived in, what you drove in, what you owned or what you wore.  We’re sorry we taught you that the Joneses were good enough to be kept-up-with or outdone, but not worthy of our time, attention, or care.  As a result of building our Image, we built nothing for you but flimsy façades; nothing is of quality, nothing is durable, nothing is trustworthy or lasting.  We’re sorry everything is to be thrown away within a mere couple years after throwing your money at it (though we wouldn’t dare permit the reality of our trash to remain within our sight).  Even the homes we taught you to covet are crumbling beneath you—our pride in our own abilities pushing professionalism to the curb.  We said we wanted to create a better life for you, but clearly we didn’t because you’re worse off than we were when we were your age.  We put you into an inescapable debt-cycle you’ll never see the end of—unless we become willing to forgive you of that debt.
  • We’re sorry we ruined sex and marriage for you.  In defiance of our parents’ roles, in defiance of our society, and in our own self-centeredness, we twisted our priorities so much outside the home that we argued and fought, abused and divorced each other, right in front of you. We turned sex into recreation by telling each other to “love the one you’re with” when love had nothing “to do with it.”  We’re sorry we ran AIDS to an epidemic long before we began running your transfusions through testing.  We’re sorry that with our words we told our daughters to abstain but our sons never to, and with our actions we made it clear that sleeping your way to the top was normal.  We’re sorry we condoned the over-sexualization of the media and marketplace because cold cash got us hot, and we turned Vegas into our place of pilgrimage.  We’re sorry our daughters watched us ogle other women, but we turned the greatest betrayal of their mothers into “no big deal” so long as there was a payoff.  We’re sorry we used you as pawns in our bargaining games; we prostituted you as our venom-bearers.  We bad-mouthed each other to you but seldom confessed in front of you.  We taught you that no one could be trusted, that love was just a game.  That nothing was forever and pain was inevitable.  We’re sorry we taught you that the only way to “make it” was by building up walls, by your own strength, and quite possibly by yourself. By the time you made it to puberty you knew more about sex than we even do today, yet were so desperate for intimacy that both sex and email were modern modes of social networking for you. How could we not have seen that your dark, loud, angry music was a reaction to our obliteration of everything sacred?  How can we be surprised that today you’d rather define marriage as any two beings who care about one another, if you even want anything to do with marriage at all?  How could you possibly do it well with no one to teach you?  And why should you believe God wants to be your husband when you’ve never witnessed it?
  • We’re sorry this carried over into parenting and family as well.  By using material goods to cover up our transgressions, make up for our absences, or by displaying that parenthood is nothing more than being a material provider, we had you convinced that happiness and love were in the things we bought, so when you grew independent you saw no need for mere Providers anymore.  We chose careers over cousins, shopping trips over special occasions, and remodeling over reunions.  We failed to believe, trust, and defend you against attack from within and without, prizing our own reputation over the sanctity of your own bodies.  Now you don’t see how any worthwhile benefit can come out of family life, and want nothing to do with children.  After all, it could hamper the career success or mess up the perfect image we taught you to covet.  Or, you have your own kids but are perplexed why owning every toy and participating in every activity are causing them to stressfully resent you instead of making them love you.  You watched us prefer things to our children; because we left you lonely, and taught you to trust no one, you believe the only friends you’ll ever have are your kids.  So you let them abuse you, rather than risk admonishing them.  We’re so sorry our actions are causing you disrespect, unpopularity, and pain from both directions.  We’re sorry we let the safety net of your extended family disintegrate and fray.
  • We’re sorry for botching up the Women’s Liberation Movement in such a way as to make you girls believe you could do or be anything—except sexy enough, good enough, perfect enough, strong enough, or smart enough.   We’re sorry you feel you have to carry the entire world on your shoulders playing every role under the sun, yet still don’t get paid equally, and when you do step up and do it all, we have the audacity to tell you that you ought to be subservient to the lazy, incompetent men because it’s not what’s between your ears that matters, it’s what’s between your legs that determines your abilities.  But if you’re not everything you’re nothing.  We couldn’t handle that load ourselves, never taught you how, yet we keep pressuring you to do it.  Furthermore, we allowed a dismissal of our elders and an obsession with image to give us a phobia about aging, resulting in your anorexic and bulimic traumas prior to puberty, in your endless surgical sculpturing thereafter.  In addition to being superheroes, our world expects you to be perfect models, with never a hair out of place or a trace of body fat in unpopular zones, and never with anything less than a smile—because then you wouldn’t be an acceptable woman. We’re sorry we both created and perpetuated the double standard.  We’re sorry we taught you a “real” woman would run the board room, change the tire, re-shingle the roof and change the diapers in a string bikini and stiletto heels. We’re sorry we paraded you around and bragged to impress our friends, but never shared the credit with you.  Is it any wonder you hide?  Is it any wonder you feel you have to “make it” by age 30 because your life is pretty much over by 49?  Daughters, we are so sorry.  You don’t have to prove yourselves to anybody.
  • Sons, we’re sorry for making you think manhood is defined as being a sports superstar, a playa, a multi-million moneymaker and an emotional mama’s-boy all at the same time.  We’re sorry we put you through so much but never showed you how to effectively handle your feelings.  We’re sorry we expected too little where it mattered, and too much where it didn’t.  We’re sorry we taught the girls useful skills while we sent you out to play.  We taught you to be sharks out in the world but spineless at home; we never taught you the difference between toughness and strength.  We never taught you how to lead.  The only ones you can attempt to protect are yourselves.  We’re sorry we made you feel inadequate, insecure, and unworthy unless you wowed us; and that now, as grown men, you also feel un-necessary.  The mothers who loved you are now being replaced with wives who despise you, because you aren’t like the fathers most of you never had anyway.  What’s worse, when you neglect your kids like we neglected you, you’re the ones who end up in jail for it.  We told you what we wanted you to be, but we seldom appreciated you for who you are or what you are naturally good at.  And when you have met our expectations, when you do shine, we’re too selfish and scared to hand over the reins to you.  We hold you down to keep ourselves up.  We talk over you because we’re afraid of fading away.  And we expect you to respect us when we don’t show respect to you or others.  We are so very sorry.  You have been strong indeed.
  • We’re sorry for overthrowing the churches with our committees and using religion as a noose.  Of all the knowledge we made you learn, most of which you’ve never used, we failed to teach you what you needed the most: wisdom.  That assurance, assistance, and guidance come from God and His Word.  We’re sorry we turned preaching into pre-game pep talks and popularity potlucks.  We’re sorry we turned salvation into slavery and sorority.  We’re sorry we neither discussed nor demonstrated the victory over sin, because we were too fond of it, and in so doing left you totally vulnerable to attack.  We’re sorry we gave you sashes and badges and silly songs but no real skills or tools, and though we told you how great you could be we never showed you how to be.  Hiding behind God and Law, we used guilt to twist you into submission only to leave a stinging scar of empty hypocrisy behind.  We ourselves did not believe the Word or live the Way, but dragged you through it anyway.  We twisted scripture to suit our schemes, we selected and sampled at our whim.  We are sorry we did not share the promises for peace, prosperity, and personal relationship.  We are sorry we made God small and put Him in a box for safe keeping.  We’re sorry we showed you religion and not results.
  • We’re sorry that because of these things, you’re struggling with depression, addiction, and self-hatred.  We’re sorry we welcomed drugs in and now you fight to get them back out.  We’re sorry we deified “sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll,” but when you achieved these things, they destroyed you.  They have become your ever-present demons.  We’re sorry you watch more and more of your peers take their own lives through overdose and suicide, cutting, gang violence, rape and murder than any of us have ever seen.  That you yourselves have tried these things but didn’t feel like you could even tell us, because we’d “flip out” and then you’d have to hold us up, too.  We’re sorry that when you do speak up, we dismiss your reality because we’re afraid to rock our own.  That we say we don’t want you to suffer–but what we really mean is that we care only up to the point where we have to make a sacrifice to help you.  And now you’re faced with porn addiction and sex trafficking in the very neighborhoods you rode your bicycles in.  There is workplace abuse, spousal abuse, abuse of and by children, abuse of and by your parents, abuse of and by the law, abuse of and by the Church, and abuse of the land.  Where could you possibly feel safe?  Where we fought wars with people far away, or fought for the right to a “good time,” you fight yourselves for the right to live.  We’re so sorry it’s no longer safe enough to go out and play.
  • And last but not least, we want to apologize to You, God.  In front of our children.  Perhaps for the first time in our lives, we want them to see us do what we should have done all along.  We not only turned away from You, and ignored You, we took for granted that this country is of You and our own parents sacrificed their lives willingly while praying to You.  We have pushed You out of our government, out of our schools, out of our workplaces, out of our homes, out of our marriages, out of our public places, even out of our churches!  Worshiping that Almighty Image, we had the audacity to think the God of Love would be offensive!  So we sided with the ignorant.  We have even pushed You out of Your own holidays!  And when Your hand is respectfully withdrawn at our request, we throw tantrums and accuse You of abandonment!  We blame our mess on You!  The greatest hypocrisy of all!!!  Holy God, we have separated ourselves from You, we have been self-centered, we have been prideful, we have been greedy, we have been gluttonous, we have coveted, we have committed all number of sins—yes, they ARE sins—and we did so in plain sight of everybody.  Oh, and we passed them onto our children!  Lord, we do love our children—(Xers, we DO love you!)—we don’t want them to continue carrying the burden for our sins.  (Xers: You are NOT beasts of burden!)  Lord, if we do not live another day, please let today be the day our children see us returning to You, returning to Your Word as a trusted source.  Lord, Your Word says that if we will humble ourselves and return to You, with repentant hearts, willing to turn from our wicked ways and seek Yours instead, willing to trust what You have said is Your will to love and comfort, help and guide, heal and protect us, then You would be gracious to do so.  Holy Lord, let our children see us right here, right now, casting aside all cares about image or public opinion or popularity or pride and kneeling before You, repentant and real, inviting You back into our lives.  Back into our families, back into our marriages, back into our homes, back into our workplaces, back into our schools, back into our public places, back into our government—and yes, even back into the churches we took over to please ourselves!  Oh, God we have no hope of rising from these ashes without You!  Mighty God, please let our children see us set this last example for them, for we can never expect to see them do what we ourselves will not do.  We have made too much mess of everything, God, and we ourselves cannot help them. Cannot save them.  But God!  We beg you to be merciful not on us but on our children!  God please rescue our children!  Let our knees be in their stead, and our invitation cause Your hand to re-extend under them to cup them in Your comfort!  Show them, Lord, what we did not—show them who You are, show them that they can trust You!  That they are not alone!  That they are not without hope!  That they have not failed!  Oh, Lord, they never wanted our stuff–all they wanted was our attention, some validation!  Acknowledgement, not criticism!  Grace, not Condemnation!  Lord, show them that You will not receive them like we did, but that You have the might to fix everything and You will do so for the children You love so much!  Show them Your true meaning of love, and restore their faith in marriage by asking for each of their hands.  Be the perfect spouse each of them deserves and replace our ruined renditions with Your vision for their Familial future.  Holy and gracious Lord, rescue them from our exile and restore this Your promised land.  Restore them to the honor and glory we wanted for them, perhaps for the right reasons but definitely through the wrong means.  Teach them what honor and glory really mean.  Lord God, give to them this nation, and its leadership; we freely hand over all the reigns and all the control we no longer deserve.  Lord, give this nation to the ones who follow You, not us, and all Your riches as their inheritance.  Show them Your leadership, disciple them strongly.  Your work in them is our only hope.  From the depths of our ineptitude, we pray Thee.  Amen.”

How has this impacted your thinking on the matter?

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