Raising a Conscious Generation: Just a Feel Good Phrase?
I was raised in a traditional, Christian home, but lacking full understanding, as a child, I admit I grumbled and even rebelled a bit as a teen. My mother would constantly quote from the Bible: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”. It took quite a few stumbles, embarrassing situations, and failures to truly grasp what this meant. Looking back, I find that with every stumbling block, my spiritual consciousness and faith has been the constant source of comfort, and so I have passed it onto my children.
In my mid-20s, I married a Rastaman. When I said my vows I fully understood and accepted that I would be contracting myself and my family to leading a slightly different lifestyle from my traditional upbringing. For example, although none of my children have a ras (dreadlocks), my sons have never been to a barber, and a point of greater contention with my family is the fact that none of my children have ever eaten meat. Although this sometimes attracts quizzical looks from the other daycare and school moms, these are quickly accepted as simple, lifestyle choices.
I was met with little resistance on these matters, although I had done my research and was prepared to defend these choices with health statistics, doctors’ reports and reference to the Nazarite vows (Numbers 6: 1-27). What I was not prepared for, was having to defend or protect my children, when expressing their faith.
Permit me to explain. Quite often my son would introduce himself, and after giving his name he would follow up with a bit of background information:
“My name is Josiah! Did you know that that name is in the Bible? Josiah was the youngest king.”
Seems simple enough, right? Yet this tidbit usually faces one of two reactions: “Really? That’s nice to know’. The second more disturbing, response is a nervous giggle or awkward silence, coupled with a confused, blank stare, as though my son had just flashed his genitals while simultaneously whipping out the latest edition of Watch Tower.
Now in these moments I find myself torn. Although terribly proud that my five-year-old is so eager to share his beliefs with just about anyone, my motherly instinct kicks into protective mode and I’m tempted to edit him. It irks me that my child would be looked at as a ‘freak’ for making mention of Scripture. When exactly did it become taboo to talk about one’s faith publicly?
Let me be clear at this point that I am not making reference to any religious persuasion or denominational group. I reference the Bible in my articles because it is the benchmark that I have chosen for governing my life. That said I began to question what we mean when we throw around terms like ‘conscious vibes’ or ‘a conscious generation’. Are they merely the ‘feel good’ phrases of our generation?
There is no question that each generation seems to be far more knowledgeable about certain issues, at a much earlier age. Between the more sexually charged TV programming and changes in school programmes, for example, young children now are more aware of their sexuality. As a parent, I think I’m coping with these developments well enough. But what substance is there in any consciousness absent of a spiritual consciousness? As the wise King Solomon wrote, “Vanity of vanity; all is vanity”.
We have slowly traded the message of ‘truth’ for a message of ‘tolerance’. Political correctness has forced us to silence our beliefs, while giving a greater voice and more influence to utter folly. What we once saw as offensive to the senses and altogether wrong is now categorized as ‘pop culture’, and if pursued with just enough fervour can land you your own reality show and shoot you to stardom.
Don’t believe me? What’s ‘hot’ right now on TV? “Jersey Shore”! My grandmother would flip twice in her grave had she seen this nonsense – being promiscuous, self-absorbed and un-ambitious are apparently desired traits? Then there’s “Sister Wives”, a new reality show that actually makes direct reference to Scripture. This one is about polygamists! Really, is that the best we can do as a society? And no, unlike many, I do not blame the media. Like any other commodity, TV programming is based on the simple rules of supply and demand. These shows would not be on the air, if they were not attracting sufficient viewers. It’s our fault!
I look at what is deemed acceptable now and try to compare it to when I was a child. The drastic changes scare me as a parent. I shudder to think of what will be acceptable ten to fifteen years from now, when my children are in their teens.
I refuse to sugarcoat my personal truths for my children. I believe for every good, spiritual seed that I fail to plant as a parent, there is a weed taking root and it’s only a matter of time before it manifests itself. I am therefore committed to adding substance to the term ‘conscious’ in the lives of the upcoming generation – not just a feeling, that good reggae song or catchy phrase, but a real and meaningful connection with HIM who guides, sustains and protects. Although I can’t control society’s standards, I can – as my parents did – give my children the gift of a solid, spiritual foundation that can help them throughout life.
Image courtesy kowingfung531.
Check out the rest of this week’s issue (Issue 31, 8/11/10)
- Market Movers: Love & A Virtual Food Mart
- The Kamla Hoopla: A Case of Compassion or Caribbean Jealousy?
- Why God is NOT a Trini
- Why Good Girls and Nice Guys Never Get Picked
- Inside the Male Psyche: What do Men Really Want?