I am the last one who should ever judge society for its celebrity-obsessed culture. For only reading at a fifth-grade level. For listening to mind-numbing pop music and watching sitcoms about grown men acting like children. After all, our generation is moving at such a mind-numbing pace with all that facebooking and making pinterest cupcakes in the shape of spiders. Why make it any harder by struggling through War and Peace, with all those long sentences and foreign vocabulary words? I was on a reality show, for goodness sakes. I get it.
But I worry about our children’s future. Hell, I worry about our own future. We are not reading Pulitzer-prize winning literature. We watch Gossip Girl instead, not realizing there are woodpeckers pecking away in our back woods, their funny little heads bobbing to and fro, or sunsets sparkling through oak leaves in the distance. There are entire worlds of fiction awaiting us, challenging our minds to weave characters out of nothing but mere descriptions on paper. We instead stare five feet in front of our couches, settling into our idle, boring life.
I sometimes think about the housewives in the 1950’s through the 70’s– modern conveniences like dishwashers and clothes dryers and microwaves at their disposal. It freed up so much time and energy. But for what? All the energy we have reserved for ourselves by not having to rub shirts against a wash board or sweep up dust that blows in through a log cabin wall – it’s a gift. We should be planning ways how to spend it like hard-earned cash. And yet we throw it toward wasteful, useless things.
Pretty soon, we won’t be able to hide our laziness, watching our trashy television after our children run off to bed, or sneaking a glance at celebrity gossip thinking no one will ever know. We are addicted to sugar and saturated fats. We don’t run or walk or work the land. Our reduced vocabulary and lack of insight into the world around us grows. It rubs off on them.
It rubs off on us.
Our children surely see it. They can feel the anger that creeps into our days when we aren’t living purposefully. They taste the bitterness that sets in when we are tired and useless and have nothing else to say. They hear our dinner table conversation, void of beauty and truth, and will someday either scream with madness or settle into their own life of mediocrity.
I don’t want that kind of life. I won’t want my children to have that kind of life. I think God places upon us a duty to live our best lives. To excel and work hard and debate established truths with vigor. To complain less and work more. It’s not about living a lie so your children have fake memories to hold onto. Vanity disintegrates at the first sign of rain. It’s about men grunting it out for their families and women not complaining about it. It’s about singing over breakfast and silly-dancing down the hallway and getting your hands dirty. Then, when our sore and tired bodies sink into bed, we rise the next day, joyful.
It will invariably rub off on your children, your best life. Not because you were pretending to be someone you weren’t, but because you were finally embracing yourself, and who God meant for you to be. Filling your soul with so much richness is hard to contain. It comes pouring out of your heart and settles on them like gold dust. Or they might never get it. They might have to find their own place in this world differently how you imagined it. Children are their own people, with minds and hearts you cannot control. They might think you worked too hard, or were too old-fashioned, or didn’t fit into modern culture. They might think you are flat-out crazy.
But it doesn’t matter, really. You aren’t doing it for them, as it turns out. You are living your best life in honor of the one who created you. Because you couldn’t imagine wasting all that precious, idle time. Others can watch sitcoms, but you? Well you’ll be skipping in the woods, singing with the wind’s natural harmony, laughing with the sparrows. You will be out there living your best life. One filled with peace and hope and love.
Maybe there is hope for the future after all.