Sometimes I've wondered why our teens today are so, well, less naive than I was.
And then I went to see Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.
I don't wonder anymore.
What could be a cute plot, and is actually, was marred by the many not-so-hidden underlying themes. Themes that teach our adolescents that certain values are obsolete. As the comedic relief is a drunk senior girl, lost in NYC, and the ever-present gay sidekicks play a main role in the movie, the main characters propose, by their actions, that sex as high schoolers is normal, that the dating scene is something to get into around age 14, and that orgasming is something all senior girls should have done by now. It's no wonder that our teenagers today are confused about what is okay and what is not. Are there no boundaries anymore? Are there no standard values? No, because we live in a post-modern, post-Christian society. We live in a society where sex rules, lust lives strong, and many family values have gone by the wayside.
Now, I know this doesn't surprise anyone. I'm not saying anything new here. But here's my key question: How do we teach our youth strong Christian values--heck, forget Christian values, how about just plain old "respect yourself and set some boundaries" values--and still allow them to be introduced to what this world really is? As I think of becoming a parent, I know that I will not be able to, nor will I want to, shield my child from the things of our culture. My children, and children in general, need to be able to experience and begin to understand our culture for what it is, BUT, they need to be allowed to do this with a strong support system behind them to help guide them and answer questions as they arise.
I don't even begin to assume that I have the answers.
However, I do have insight that parents do not. Because I am young, and because I am not a parent, and because I work with youth, I am privy to many things. Things most parents would like to believe their precious children are not aware of, not doing, and not accepting as normal and okay. I promise to make as much of a difference as I can, but when I sit in a movie theater, surrounded by 13-17 year olds, all in their tight shirts, short skirts and saggy pants, I am reminded that there are a lot of teens who are not being influenced by someone with sound values. There are thousands of teens out there who watch Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and assume drinking is funny, the gay lifestyle is normal, sex is purely physical, boundaries are non existent, and the goal in life is to satisfy any and all personal desires, no matter what the cost, spiritually, emotionally and physically.
And I used to wonder where teens were learning these things ... they learn some of it in movies, but I refuse to blame Hollywood. It all comes back to the parents. We cannot afford to allow our children to learn only from friends, magazines and movies. Parents and adults in our community must be committed to teaching our youth--to using the current cultural trends to facilitate discussions based on values and life choices.
The real devastating truth is this: parents might not even know, or they don't care. And that just makes me weep. Weep for the children who are being lured down a dangerous path, with no parental or adult guidance--because why?
Because we either don't care, don't know, or think we can't make a difference.