Saturday, October 15, 2011

Rebels without a cause

I remember when I was an LDS (Mormon) missionary, the wife of our mission president once said that boys should be sent on a mission when they are 16 instead of when they are 19: they know everything and it would be a nice break for the moms! Of course she was kidding, but she had a point. I am not 100% sure what a parent-child relationship is like when someone is 16 or 19, because my parents decided they no longer wanted to parent me when I was 15, and finalized the disruption of my adoption shortly thereafter. So yeah, I am not sure how strained my relationship would have been with them. But even after they removed me from their home and abandoned me, I learned a very important thing: I should respect and honour their rules as long as I'm in their home and always always honour them. I did just that and while they rejected me, when the situation arose I did honour their wishes. 

Exodus 20:12 commands "Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you." (NIV-UK) 

It's a commandment, not a request, not an advice. It says "Honour your father and your mother", without conditions. It's not "Honour your father and your mother unless they set a curfew that you think is too early." It's not "Honour your father and your mother as long as they do what you want." It doesn't even mention parents have to respect their child to be honoured. Those commandments are written elsewhere, and the parents' failure to keep them does not make Exodus 20:12 null and void. Self proclaimed Christian and religious Jewish youths tend to forget this. 

The issue with today's society is entitlement. "I have rights," a rebellious friend said once, "they can't make me do things what I don't want to do and they can't kick me out of the house. I have rights." It was a hard slap on the face when his parents had him evicted from their home. Rights end when someone is no longer a minor. Rights, and in a way, parents' responsibility put up with their kids' cr@p also end once the child grows up. Expecting parents to provide for a youth, while he or she is awaiting their dream position is all too common. All the while being disrespectful makes it sting even more. Feeling entitled to parents' resources seems to be the standard. Getting a car, parents paying for college, trips to Europe is not gratefully accepted but expected these days. And if these material goods don't land on someone's lap... airing their grievances on Facebook, on blogs, on twitter, more often than not on devices that were purchased by said parents, seems to be considered a basic human right.

Of course, we, parents, seem to be encouraging this behaviour. The media seem to be encouraging this behaviour. Modern parenting methods definitely make kids and young adults believe they are some special snowflakes. Better than their parents. And it's not only teenagers, who are expected to rebel against everything and the exact opposite of it, but twenty-somethings as well. 

So here is some news: they are not. 

The world doesn't owe them anything. They will have to work for everything as their parents and grandparents did. It's going to be tough when they are forced to wake up, and find themselves in the real world... with kids on their own who will treat them as they treated their parents. 

What a slap in the face that will be. 


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