For regular, or even occasional readers of my blog, you would be aware that every now and then my mind goes on bizarre excursions. As I was walking to school the other day I reflected that in my 40 odd years of teaching and pastoring it has been increasingly difficult to comprehend what drives and motivates teenagers. So I asked myself the question: What would have influenced me if I had been born in 2000 rather than 1950? Some things haven’t changed, but there is much that has.
I would now be almost thirteen. I grew up into a mobile phone culture. My parents have had one each as long as I can remember so I naturally assume that this is the way I will operate too. Having the phone with me and on, at all times is “normal”. Similarly with computers. PCs, laptops, tablets, gaming consoles, android and iPhones are a normal part of life. The internet is an important, if not the main, source of information, entertainment and communication. All of this has been part of my life as long as I can remember. I have a feeling of connection and am uncomfortable if this is removed.
I was too young to remember the 9/11 event but that and associated terrorist events are part of the “mythology” I have grown up with. Every subsequent event is referenced to that date. I have grown up in the age of terrorism. There are regular events, like the recent Boston bombings, that remind me of that. The nuclear threat, the space race and the cold war are events in history books. The rise of Islam as a religion, and China and India as economic powers is the world I am growing up in. Europe and the USA seem increasingly vulnerable although I am still too young to understand what that might mean for me. It does however raise a ripple of apprehension.
Another historical anachronism is the church. The buildings dot the cities and countryside but like “Mechanics Institutes” and corner stores they are remnants of a bygone era. They seem so irrelevant today. Even those who go to church struggle to explain its purpose. But still, there must be more to living than just having things.
Divorce and homosexual relationships are a normal aspect of life. We need to be politically correct and accept all points of view. Half the kids in my class come from broken homes and a number have openly gay parents. Mum and dad might split. That is just the way it is.
I have never known real want or hunger. There have always been choices. But they tell me when I get older a job might be hard to get. Others tell me that the job I might do may not even have been invented yet. I am also told that education is important. My problem is that I struggle with practical subjects and Maths – what hope have I got?
Even though I can’t explain it, all this gives me a vague feeling of unease. So I will get back to FB, update my status, check my friends’ texts and this might just make me feel better about myself.