Children of the Lesser Gods
Children of the Lesser Gods
by Peter Farley
Last spring when the sounds of endless pitiful chirping woke me from a usually peaceful afternoon nap, a quick inspection outside my window quickly led to the cause. A young sparrow that had failed to fly on its first attempt had secreted itself under the honeysuckle vine growing over the latticework bridging the gap between the house and the fence. A further investigation showed that not only was there a young sparrow hidden in the vines, but also a concerned mother sparrow. The chirping that had awakened me was the distress call from the young one, and the returning comforting replies from the mother waiting patiently above the young bird, keeping a protective watch over it until it was strong enough to fly.
Over the next couple of days, the chirping continued intermittently as the mother sparrow flew off to gather food for her troubled young one and then returned for the feeding.
One day, the chirping ceased. The best I could figure it, the troubled young bird had grown enough in strength under the patient care of its mother until it was eventually able to fly on its own.
This nurturing parental instinct is supposed to be inherent in people as well as in birds and animals. Unfortunately, it seems to be stronger in some than in others. A standard joke among teachers is that a person has to take a test before they can get a driver?s license, but it doesn?t take anything to have a child.
These days, the increased pressure on parents to work as much as they can just to survive means that many parents aren?t able to fulfill their traditional parental responsibilities as well as they would like. This means that, increasingly, children are left to their own resources in order to find their way and make sense of the world in which they live. And a very complex and confusing world it is.
Then again, sometimes there are parents who simply don?t seem to care.
When asked what the greatest problem was with kids these days, an overwhelming response from local teachers and principals surveyed was a perceived lack of parental supervision. One mother called by a school the other day to ask why her son was not attending his morning classes simply replied, ?My son does not get up until 11.15, so there?s no way he can make it to his first two classes.?
The problem seems, however, to go beyond this simple explanation of parental non-involvement. As many teachers will confirm, much of their parental interaction is instigated at the request of parents who say they are ?at a loss? on how to control their kids. They come seeking guidance from the teachers on what they should do.
Many today blame the behavior of the kids they see getting into trouble on the fact that they are children of the baby boomers?the people born or raised in the hedonistic era of the 1960s and 1970s?the period of rebellion, ?free love,? and the frantic quest for new experiences. It is said that many of the children today are listening to the same music, wearing the same clothes, and seeking the same highs as their parents did during this period, for exactly the same reasons. As one teacher at the local high school notes, the rebelliousness of the 60s and 70s usually at least seemed to be related to some kind of cause like the environment or anti-war. The kids of today, he notes, seem to be expressing a rebellion not tied to any particular cause. The drugs that once offered so many a possible route to higher consciousness, now seem to be taken more for escape from the responsibilities of life and living, or perhaps even more from a boredom brought on by the anaesthetizing influence of television and bland, mono-chromatic music. With the rise in the popularity of drugs among teenagers and even pre-teenagers has come a corresponding rise in the crime rate. Kids who once idolized sports stars and movie stars as their heroes, now worship at the altar of thugs and petty hoodlums.
With no solid role models, with families often consisting only of a single mother and perhaps a boyfriend or series of boyfriends, children are starting to relate to their environment in a new and different way?a way that most adults and often their teachers as well, cannot always understand.
No generation before has ever had such an advertising blitz focused on them as a pressure to make them conform in the name of making the almighty dollar. And conform to what? To whatever it is that Madison Avenue feels like it wants to sell them on that particular day. No generation in modern history has also been steeped in so much hedonism, materialism, and commercialism. Instant gratification is the catch phrase upon which these children have been raised, and the only things to be valued are the $125 pair of sneakers on your feet, and any way in which to can make yourself rich?preferably without working for it.
In an exercise in three different classes the other day, fully 60 to 70 percent of the students could not outline any plan or goals for their future, except, that is, to become rich.
It seems like the kids are a lot to blame for the circumstances in which they find themselves, but if there is a higher incidence of rebellion in the teenagers these days, can anyone really blame them?
What was once fine in the 1960s and 1970s, no longer works in an era when two people have to work just to support a home and family. When everyday more and more decent jobs that pay a living wage and benefits are flying south-of-the-border or heading to Asia, when the threat of another world war becomes just another way of covering up political scandal in Washington, can anyone seriously blame the kids for wanting to rebel?
Many parents cry out in unison, ?But we have given them everything?everything we never had!? But along the way these parents have forgotten that it was the lessons they learned along the way to acquiring what they have that were the real value of what it was they achieved. If kids can?t appreciate everything they have been given, perhaps it is because they have not had to earn these things and learn the value of work along the way. Perhaps they have not learned the old axiom that life is a journey, not a destination. If employers complain that children of today have no serious work ethic, perhaps it is because they have never been taught one.
Very often there is a noticeable difference between the students who are given cars by their parents, and those who have to, in some way, earn them.
Does this mean that all the kids of today are spoiled? No, not at all. Misled, disillusioned, scared? Yes. Teachers at local schools, at least those who are themselves not disillusioned, will attest to the fact that every day in their classes they come in contact with some of the nicest and most awesome human beings?human beings who are strong-willed, human beings who are caring, and human beings who have a great future and will make wonderful leaders for the new world?if only they can be given some meaningful guidance and direction.
The biggest problem they evidence, however, is their fear. Psychologists will tell you that many of the behaviors exhibited in general by teenagers and children these days, are simply ways in which to mask their real problem?fear (as insecurity).
Right now we are living in a world which no one quite understands. Everyday, the stockmarket hits new highs or lows that don?t really justify the value of the companies which the stocks represent. Everyday, new political scandals arise that make people feel less and less confident in the politicians who have been elected to govern them. In one recent poll, fully 90 percent of the teenagers polled expressed no interest in politics whatsoever. Can we blame them?
In a recent article on the prophesied earth changes, the comment was made that, ?like the peculiar behavior of animals which seems to foretell the coming of an earthquake, so too are we and our children predicting with our own seemingly irrational behavior, the subtle shifts that the planet is making prior to the more major earth changes that are predicted to begin soon.?
Subconsciously the children are reacting to one thing?that major changes are underway and that the world will never be the same again. On a conscious level, they are being led to believe something which is totally the opposite of what they are sensing?that everything is normal and that things are going along just the same as they have always been. While some adults may be deluded enough to believe that everything is normal, these kids of today are not being fooled. They KNOW something odd is happening. The gap between what they feel and see, and what the adult world is trying to have them believe, is too great.
Don?t misunderstand, no one is by any means trying to suggest that there aren?t some children out there who are just not very nice people. A kind of bootcamp system wherein children would be taught to be responsible for themselves has been suggested for those with some kind of behavioral or emotional problems, and often seems to work. However, as the statistics prove, more ?violence?, either physically or emotionally, is not what any of these kids need. Certainly, if the adult world is not willing to aid the young people of today in finding some kind of viable solutions to their problems and the effects they have on the society at large, then perhaps the kids will indeed need to find a way on their own.
While no one would call the children of today highly religious, there is, however, a strong sense of the spiritual within many of them, and this is a level at which all of us will need to be working in order to help ease the problems of an increasingly overburdened planet.
One solution a friend of mine named Kathy has suggested is that the changes in the planet and in the people simply reflect our need to go beyond ourselves to our Selves. The rest of the changes, she says, would then be possible to withstand. As we raise our inner knowing to connect with Self, there would be a much smoother transitional period in the offering. When we stop fighting the changes and allow them just to be, the time of transition turns from one of terrible, heart-wrenching pain, to an ease of understanding and a daily walk in peace and in joy.
None of the future is pretty?at least for a while, but being centered within ourselves will at least make it bearable.
?Maybe,? she says, ?the changes simply need to be accepted and allowed by us as the first step in coming to terms with what we have to understand. Changes 101. First step: Allow yourself to change. Allow the planet to change. Embrace the change and allow all that is unnecessary to fall away, bringing us as individuals to a place of clarity, of knowing and of ease.?
Perhaps our children are more in tune with these coming changes than we are. If we stop trying to inflict our old worn-out ideas and values onto our children, and instead help them and ourselves to explore the new levels of consciousness constantly being opened to us in these difficult times, perhaps we will all be able to take the necessary next steps together.
Once upon a time, it was the children who were charmed enough by the sweet music of the Pied Piper of Hamblin to follow him into a new world of beauty and splendor. The time may have come again when this kind of leadership is needed, a type of rebellion in which the old saying that ?and a child shall lead them? will come true, and it is we the elders who shall have to make the necessary changes in order to follow those who are more willing to pursue the new directions?our children.