A Five Alarm Fire

A Five Alarm FireRescuing our kids from the toxic cultural fire they are being raised in.

We live in a drastically different world than the one our parents and we adults grew up in. There are a lot more pressures and distractions on today’s youth. Post Modernism, rapid technological developments, our struggling economy, the disintegration of the family, and a fractured political system have taken their toll on the health of our culture. Just like any house fire, the most vulnerable parts of the house show the effects first, with visible flames and smoke. Our kids are suffering the effects first. In every community across America our young are showing the destructive effects of our cultural fire. Their lives are a bone dry tender-box ready to erupt into flames at any time.

Today’s kids live in a society dominated with:

  • Individualism: What’s in it for me?
  • Hedonism: If it feels good, do it!
  • Minimalism: I’m going to do just enough to get by.
  • Relativism: There are no “truths”.
  • Materialism: Whoever dies with the most toys wins

No wonder so many of our kids catch on fire.

It was once said “Give me your children and I will give you the world”. This person realized that in true cultural change starts with kids. If we don’t take care of them, our culture will change whether we like it or not.

So ……Sound the Alarm! …our kids are on fire.

CALL 911

It is not uncommon to have homes burn completely to the ground during a night with thick heavy fog. They simply go unnoticed and are completely consumed by the fire. The next morning neighbors notice the pile of ashes and say to each other “Hey, Joe’s house burned down last night.”

That is what is going on with our kids right now. The house is on fire but our society is too busy to notice the smoke and flames.

Parents and adults are so busy just trying to survive in our own modern “rat race” that we don’t see what a terrible toll that it’s taking on the lives of our kids. We are in a fog and the fire rages on every day. Usually by the time we recognize that the kid is on fire, it’s too late.

There are some tell-tale signs though. Here are the smoke and flames as evidence of the fire:

According to statistics collected by the Children’s Defense Fund, every day in America:

  • 5 children or teens commit suicide.
  • 8 children or teens are killed by firearms.
  • 642 children are arrested for using drugs or alcohol.
  • 1,154 babies are born to teen mothers.
  • 2,421 children are confirmed as abused or neglected.
  • 2,467 high school students drop out of school.
  • 2,698 teenage girls get pregnant.
  • 2,872 children see their parents get divorced.
  • 3,224 children run away from home.
  • 3,477 children are arrested for various crimes, 451 of them are violent.

The emergency is real, so call 911, break the glass and pull the handle, run out in the street and start yelling.

Sound the Alarm.

OUR EMERGENCY RESPONSE

Okay, so there is a fire, who should we call, the fire department? More and more, our society today is calling upon coaches, teachers, youth ministers, and parents to save our kids. Just like real fire departments, over 87% of these people are volunteers. If you volunteer any of your time to help kids, you are one of them. We are the cultural firefighters who are putting on the turn outs, hooking up the air packs, grabbing the hose lines, and rushing into the fires that are burning in the hearts and souls of our young people.

Response Codes for Cultural Fire Fighters:

CODE 1: Non-emergency response. No lights or siren, obey all traffic laws the same as any other vehicle. This approach down plays the emergency and says that we can handle things the same way that we always have.

CODE 2: Non-life threatening emergency response. Use of emergency lights ONLY! Must come to a stop at red lights before proceeding through them. We are stepping our response level up a little bit, but still are keeping things “inside the box”.

CODE 3: Life-threat response. Emergency traffic, or simultaneous use of lights and siren required in order to achieve a rapid response. In most circumstances this allows the responding unit to ignore jurisdictional traffic laws as long as they operate with due regard to safety. For our analogy, this approach requires responders to think and act “outside the box”.

FIREFIGHTING STRATEGY

Fire Fighters must resist the urge to focus only on the symptoms (this is known as the “candle moth” syndrome or “tunnel vision”). The most effective tactics however involve an evaluation of what is not burning rather than what is actually on fire. The unburned portion represents where the fire is going and this should establish the framework for fire control activities and requirements. Similarly, cultural firefighters need to plan their: rescue activities (deliberate professional actions), level of risk to fire fighters (liability and personal depression issues), confinement efforts (are they impacting other kids? One rotten apple spoils the batch), exposure protection (are they being dangerous to themselves and others?).

FIRE FIGHTING TOOLS

What will the fire department do when they get to your house? Well, what they do will depend on what tools they have to work with. What tools does our cultural fire department have at our disposal to help kids? What will we use these for? Real firemen use the axes to break out all of your windows, chop down your door, and chop open your walls. They will use the hose to soak all the walls and furnishings on your home.

What are some life-saving tools for kids in our culture?

  1. Education
  2. Deliberate Virtuous Acts
  3. Perseverance in struggles
  4. By following examples set by others
  5. Stories
  6. Unconditional vs. Transactional love. Kids have to prove their worth in order to be accepted and they learn that this only happens through their performance and their image. If you can “perform” (scholastically, athletically, and socially) and you have a good “image” (good looks, good clothes, money), then you are cool and you will be accepted. If not, you will be fragmented and isolated as an outcast.
  7. Slow the Pace Down.
  8. Definitions of Manhood and Womanhood. Myths of Modern Media.
    • To be a man you must have: athletic ability, sexual conquest over women, economic success.
    • To be a woman you must have: prince charming come and rescue you, a perfect body as defined by the media, a painted face and a painted soul to mask your true emotions.
    • These are all lies. True manhood and womanhood are found in the strength of our relationships with others.
  9. Redemption / Forgiveness / Guilt (I made a mistake) / Shame (I am a mistake)
  10. Make a Promise to them
  11. Have no Tolerance for Bullying and Hazing
  12. Stand By Them – Physically Present

POST FIRE CLEAN UP

What is the result of the fire? If you are lucky, if we get there in time and don’t make any big mistakes, we can help save the heart and soul of a kid. For this we should be eternally grateful. Now what is left after the fire has been put out fire? A lot of times, a HUGE mess to clean up. We need to be careful, kind, and very patient when helping a kid get their feet back under them after a fire ….otherwise we might spark a re-kindle.

FIRE PREVENTION

What about preventing these cultural fires with kids? Do you think showing up at a fire with axes and hoses could ever prevent a fire? Of course not. But what if they got amazing technology to detect a fire earlier and earlier so that they could break down the doors and spray the house earlier and earlier, would this ever prevent a fire? You bet it would.

So what about kids? Do we have anything at our disposal to help prevent fires with kids from happening sooner?

We do, and that is helping parents help kids long before the firefighters are needed. There are lots of experts and lots of resources being spent on these fire prevention efforts with kids. The trick is to use these experts and their intervention at the appropriate times. The cultural fire department should be a last resort and only used when there is a fire. The objective should be to NEVER need the volunteer cultural fire department. The long term goal should be to ALWAYS utilize the preventative experts first, or, even better, to help parents and families take care of their own houses, so that the volunteer cultural fire department is never needed at all! Sadly we are a long long ways from this.

Demographically over the course of the next 20 years there are going to be a lot of “old folks” around. Many of these people have been looking forward to retiring and living a peaceful life. They have not envisioned a post-retirement life as a volunteer cultural fireman. Many adults and parents, when confronted with the reality that we are isolating and abandoning our kids, are simply not willing to commit to doing what it takes to correct the problem. It’s too messy, it’s too hard, and it requires too much effort on their part. They choose to look the other way. They say, “Let someone else deal with it, it’s not my job”.

The cold hard fact is that if we baby boomers don’t take a more active role in helping put out these fires with our kids, there won’t be any homes left to live out that life of peaceful retirement in.

Sound the Alarm!