I am a member of the Generation Y.
This means, apparently, that I am a member of the generation of people born between the years 1981 and 2000. We are preceded by the Generation X, Baby Boomers, and the Mature/Silents generations. We are the oddballs that fall just before the newest generation, Generation Z.
I have been blessed to have known my grandparents, who are classified as the Mature/Silents, my parents, now termed “Baby Boomers”, and i even had the privilege of knowing my great-grandparents who were a part of the GI generation, born between 1901 and 1926.
I have often heard them speak about “The Good Ol’ Days”, when “people did what was right” and “a handshake was enough”. It saddens me to think of my generation as the end of “The Good Ol’ Days.” We are synonymous with change, but not always for the good.
It baffles me to think about it sometimes, how time changes. My children will probably never get to hear stories from anyone who lived through the Depression. They won’t get to hear the stories I did from the men who actually stormed the beaches at Normandy. They won’t get to personally know anyone who didn’t have running water as a child. I can’t fathom a world where one didn’t hear the stories of “walking to school in the snow, uphill both ways”. Those stories will be to them like stories about the Civil War are to me. I know it was real, but I didn’t know anyone who experienced it personally. Out of grasp, and almost out of reality.
Because my generation didn’t endure hardships the way the elder generations did, at least not in the same fashion that they did, we sort of get a bad rep. Our struggles are different than theirs. It would be very difficult to find anyone of my generation who had to get up before dawn to milk thirty cows by hand before going to school. It would be nearly impossible to find someone of my generation who knows how to run a plow led by a mule. Most of us have immediate access to education, vaccines, and entertainment. We enjoy so many things that former generations only dreamed about.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t have obstacles of our own. Our obstacles are not physical in nature: they are spiritual.
We are constantly being told what is morally right and what is morally wrong. We are told that if our beliefs differ from others and we disagree openly about it, we are close-minded and ignorant. We are told that we have “the right” to do whatever we want, and that anyone who disagrees with us should be ashamed. The devil is cunning, isn’t he? Why wouldn’t anyone want to be told that they are right 100% of the time? The answer? Because it’s leading us to destruction.
I’ll admit: my generation is not great at self-denial.
The Bible teaches that it is destructive to allow oneself the satisfaction of always being right and always having it your way. Luke 9:23-24 says “And he said to them all, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it, but whosever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.”
We are told “Go ahead, have an abortion. It’s your choice. It’s your body.” We are told, “Don’t like being a girl? That’s ok. Change it.” Well, I’m not buying it.
I think I’ll take the liberty of renaming my generation. I think I’ll start calling us Generation “Why?”
Why should I be a puppet and agree with things that oppose the Bible because someone tells me to?
Why should I rely on someone else to tell me what it means to be intelligent?
Why should I step back and let someone else define what my generation stands for?
Why shouldn’t I feel empowered when advocating for others who feel the same way I do?
I won’t do it. I won’t be intimidated into acceptance and tolerance of things that so blatantly dishonor God and His Word. I won’t teach my children that everyone is right and that there are no definitions to guide us morally. I will not be responsible for giving my generation the reputation of laziness, selfishness, and immorality.
Just because I disagree with someone doesn’t mean I lack love for them. I won’t be bullied into believing the fact that opposing opinions equals hate and intolerance.
I think the Good Ol’ Days are now. Right now. I live in a town that comes together during tragedy, comforting those who are hurting. I live in a town that rallies behind those fighting for a cause, spending countless hours raising money for the good of others. I live in a town that is made up of families and friends who love each other, independent of beliefs and lifestyles. We don’t have to agree with each other to uplift and love one another. We don’t degrade others to elevate ourselves.
And do you know what generation is on the frontline of those rallies? Mine. Do you know who is stepping up to fill the shoes of the honorable generations gone before? We are. It’s our time. It’s our time to prove what we are capable of. It’s time to prove that we are more than just a generation defined by someone else. It’s time to do a little defining of our own.
I will strive to be a member of society who is trustworthy. I will do what I say and say what I do. I will respect the beliefs of others, but I will not compromise my own to do so. I will work hard. I will not rely on others for financial support when God gives me the good health and strength to work for myself and provide for my own family. I will respect my husband as the head of my household, no matter how much it offends the feminist movement. I will teach my children that abortion is murder, no matter how you spin it. I will not support gay marriage, because I believe marriage is defined as one man and one woman for life. I will love my gay friends, even if I do not agree with their choices. I will pray, publicly if I so choose, and I will respect your right to choose not to, even if I disagree with that choice. But don’t get mad at me if I disagree, because I really don’t care. Sorry. I will not cheat on my taxes. Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, even if you think it’s too much. I will include the phrase “Under God” when I teach my children to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and I will sing along when the national anthem is played. I will pull over on the side of the road when I meet a funeral procession. I will give up my seat for the elderly lady who is standing, and I will teach my children the same respect. I will treat the janitor with the same respect that I show the CEO, just like my Nannie taught me to. I will write “Thank you” notes when necessary, and sometimes when they’re not. I will not use social media to air dirty laundry. It’s just not lady-like. I will dress respectfully and modestly. I will not abuse my body with drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes. Come on now, we’re smarter than that. I will set the bar high and strive to reach it. It’s not a generational thing, it’s an American thing. More importantly, it’s a Christian thing.