Dear Reader,

I am about to write about youth as I see them generally, but not specifically.  I know many fine young people who don’t fit into the mold I am going to describe–many in my family, church and community.

We are observers of people everywhere we go and like people-watching just about better than anything.  No matter how many we see, no two are alike.  Or am I wrong about that?

We have come to the conclusion that young people—say those between 15 and 25, are mostly alike, no matter where we go in the world.  Understanding that there are exceptions, here is where I am going with this.

In the United States, Canada, Russia, Germany and Ireland (and probably everywhere else as well), the young people wear a uniform, which if imposed from above, would cause utter rebellion in their ranks.   That uniform is torn jeans, tank or tee-shirts and some variation on the athletic shoe or sandal).  There is more variation in the shoes than in the tops and bottoms.  The hair is rarely styled in anything but a mess, and the piercings and tattoos are ubiquitous.   How has this happened?  Has some Hollywierd type decreed this  the uniform, or has some fashion designer set the trend, or have the public schools made this mandatory dress? What has happened?

We are in Ireland right now and are struck by the hospitable nature of the Irish people.  Those above 25 are generally the first to greet us on the street, to offer help if we appear lost, and to offer a smile in passing.  If we have asked directions, they watch to make sure we head in the right direction.   It is truly remarkable how friendly these people are.   But……the youth are plugged in to their MP3s, they are sullen and surly, and they don’t respond if we speak first.  Not only that, they are clueless about their surroundings and can’t give directions to the next corner.   They don’t seem to be at all connected to the Irish culture which is their birthright.  Rather, like the youth we have encountered in other parts, theirs is the culture of youth—dictated by their music and their pop heroes.  Their world is very small, though it is universal and known only to them.   They demand much of their parents and country, while expecting to give nothing back.  The high schools are a wreck and really just holding-pens for them for a few hours a day.  They riot when the government tries to reign in the spending because their plan is to be on the dole rather than to contribute to the well-being of the country by doing honest work.  They have abandoned the religion of their parents and seem to be aimless.

What has happened?  The world-youth-culture has taken over.  The hard work and values of the family and nation have been superseded by the culture of narcissism.  The future is tenuous for all of us, but particularly so if left in the hands of these young people.  It is time for parents to really examine how they are raising their children, and to do all they can to minimize the impacts of the culture on them before it is too late.

It is sad to think that Ireland could lose all the charm of its people in one generation more, but it will if some change doesn’t come about.  Ditto for the rest of the world.  This culture of youth is unproductive and uninteresting.  Perhaps hard times ahead will wake us all up!