Two Americas

When an airplane falls from the sky, we are quick to ask, “What happened?” Yet, as my husband points out, that is the wrong question. The answer is a rather simple one – gravity. The question we should be asking is, “What amazing forces regularly keep airplanes up in the sky?”

Many of us are asking why rates of teen depression, anxiety and sadly, even suicide, are rising. The answers come quick and fierce, varying sometimes by one’s political affiliation: social media, COVID, racism, income inequality, technology…Perhaps, we are asking the wrong questions. What if we looked instead at well-adjusted, happy, and successful teenagers and asked, “What do they share in common?”

Over the past several weeks, I have enjoyed delightful opportunities to meet quite a few young adults, ranging in age from 12 to 20. While I have only limited information as to the challenges they face, there were no sullen or droopy faces and the laughter I heard and camaraderie I saw suggested that they were better off emotionally than many in their age group. They were interacting with each other rather than with their phones and much of the fun they had was similar to that of previous generations – art projects, games, sharing favorite books, etc.

What do I know about these groups? The overwhelming majority, if not all, of these young budding men and women come from homes with a mother and father who are married to each other; homes with a religious commitment and spiritual dimension; homes where blessings are noticed more than grievances. I could go on, but as a society we have, for decades now, encouraged the opposite trends.

One of our grandsons recently began a blog post explaining his college choice with this quote:

“Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason toward my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings” ~ Patrick Henry.

He went on to explain that he was turning down prestigious American universities that not only admitted him, but also offered him scholarships. Among the points he made supporting his decision were these two sections below:

“…colleges are no longer the beacon of science and rationality that they once were. Physical diversity is championed by colleges while diversity of thought is not even a consideration, often vilified. Truth can only come through dialogue. Discussion involves disagreement. No truth can come from an institution where those in it are scared to speak their mind if their political view is not “correct”. What once were the centers of thought of the western world are now egotistical echo chambers of the delusional.”

And:

“I want to belong to a community that values a man for his contribution to the world, not for what the world has taken from him. I don’t have the faintest desire to join a community that believes that the sum of a human is his skin complexion and sexual whims.”

It is easy to get discouraged and frightened when looking at the future. After spending time with the wonderful young people I was privileged to meet, it is easy to feel optimistic and hopeful.


What do you think? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this Susan’s Musings post.
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Soul Construction: Audiobook

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