Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What Future?

A majority of today’s young people view the future with apprehension. As a result, they have lost hope in their own future. Instead of viewing the future optimistically as a time of opportunity, many young people view it with pessimism and fear. And their fears have changed drastically in recent years. Several years ago the New York Times reported on an eye-opening study conducted by Nadine Brozan. She found that the five greatest fears of a primary school child were loud noises, dark rooms, high places, dangerous animals and strangers. More recently, the average primary child’s greatest fears are losing a parent through divorce and becoming a victim of burglary, mugging, rape or cancer. Life’s fears and uncertainties are unsettling to our children and youth.

This uncertainty in our society leaves our young people with diminished hopes for the future. A sixteen-year-old in Oakland, California said, “I feel like I’m preparing for nothing.” Another student said, “I think I’m going to grow up, and there won’t be anything to live for.” With such bleak hopes for the future, most young people are easily influenced to make decisions on short-term pleasure rather than long-term consequences. Why should a teenager who believes he or she lives in a “doomsday world” follow the Christian advice to wait for sex until marriage? They have been taught that with one push of a button the world can be blown apart. Tomorrow they may be gone, so “Why not?”

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