The big picture
In order to act intelligently in our efforts to turn our country around, we need to hear from people who see the total picture and can identify the main factors in our modern problems.
Ben Sasse doesnít always represent the views of the voters in our state, which may have some repercussions at election time, but he has written two interesting books, including the input of many sources and the results of research analyzing the deep angst gripping the United States at the present time, and some suggestions how to resolve our differences and get back on track.
Our democracy depends on responsible contributing adults and the future of our country is affected by how we raise our children.
In his book, The Vanishing American Adult, Sasse lists reasons why the present adolescent has [difficulty] growing up.
He conjectures that the unwillingness to work hard leaves our young people passive and unmotivated. Perhaps too much technology and soft parenting are contributing factors to this phenomenon.
Sasse says we need travel to experience the difference between a want and a need. Ideally, meaningful travel is about engaging people in a culture whose assumptions about life, about economics and about the role of government are far different from your own. Not everyone can afford that luxury, but perhaps a visit to a different part of the country would help youths to see that not everyone grows up in similar situations. Travel also fosters empathy.
Another formative experience that is becoming endangered is building a personal library of quality books to lend exposure to great ideas, new and old.
Many students donít know much about the history of our nation and donít appreciate the advantages we have here. As a result of these two last factors, a sense of rootlessness is growing in the coming-up generation. Forty-two percent of millennials believe that socialism is better than capitalism because it seems kinder and gentler. Some assistance from the government may be desired to help them assuage their financial woes.
Our youth are experiencing a lack of physical health and stamina in order to develop discipline. Every medical doctor will tell you about the importance of a healthy diet and the merits of physical exercise, but the epidemic of obesity and lack of focus in our children is obvious. It seems that a partnership of parents and the schools could make strides to correct this unfortunate situation.
Millennials have a reduced rate of religious participation. In 1965, 10% of adults had never attended church. At the present time, 30% of the population has never entered a religious sanctuary.
More millennials and adolescents identify themselves as atheists, agnostics and spiritual but not religious, at rates far exceeding those of former generations.
This tendency to distance themselves from religious participation exacerbates their separation from older adults and authority.
Adult life is many times a school of hard knocks. Therefore, we need to provide experiences for youngsters that challenge them, require resilience and that build persistence.
Physical fitness, control of exposure to technology, soft parenting and the creating of better-paying jobs are bipartisan issues that all of us can work on.
The far left is causing a reduction of the freedom of religion and have socialist leanings, but many of our moderate Democrat friends are Christians and perceive our nationís problems in a more middle-of-the-road fashion.
Janine Hall Pantenburg,