Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Impending Extinction of Adulthood

I've hesitated to write on this topic for quite some time now.  It's been on my mind a lot, for a number of years actually.  I have not sat down to put my thoughts on paper because so much of what I have (or need) to say is a critic of me.  As you read through this, please be mindful that I'm speaking largely to myself and know that I'm not peering into your lives with a critical eye and waving a pointed finger your way.  These are just some observations that I need to think through to clarify and categorized them properly in my little mind.

I've been greatly distressed lately at the lack of maturity and responsibility in adults.  I know I'm not the only one because there have been books written about kidults, generation "me" and other narcissistic types.  But before we start complaining about the twenty-something dad who ignores his child's cries while he plays video games or the mom who leaves her infant in the car to go nightclubbing, maybe it's time we looked at ourselves first. 

Did you know that the average social gamer is a 43 year-old woman?!  This is the statistic that hit me other the head.  According to game maker  Popcap:

  • 38% of female social gamers play several times a day, vs. 29% of men.
  • Two-thirds play every day, nearly all play multiple times a week, and more than 60% say their sessions last more than half an hour.
  • Only 6% are age 21 or younger.
  • The largest single group of social gamers — 41 per cent of those surveyed — work full time, while 13 percent are retired and 11 percent are homemakers.
Okay, I confess.  I have Farmville, YoVille, and play Poppit on  All three are relaxing, addictive, and time consuming.  It almost sounds like a recreational drug!  Are these things I need to weed out of my life?  Probably, but addictions are hard to break, particularly when your social network (the real one, not the internet) is in the same boat as you.  This is something I really need to pray about.

Also on my mind lately is the lack of protocol, maturity, and simple etiquette in the workplace.  One of my biggest pet peeves is unanswered emails.  Granted, we're all busy (though some of us are so busy because we're on Farmville), but at least an acknowledgment of receipt of a business inquiry is in order.

As a society, we also have allowed Casual Fridays to morph into a daily style of dress that is typically lazy and sometimes downright childish.  Pajamas and lingerie are for the bedroom, not the workplace or Wal*Mart.  How can we expect to respect each other if we don't respect ourselves enough to comb our hair?  Why do we demand to be treated with dignity when we depreciate our own bodies by poking too many holes in it with piercings or drawing all over it with tattoos or color are hair as if we were a My Little Pony doll?

Our language in general has sunk to beneath primordial sludge in many cases.  My grandmother wouldn't just blush, she'd be cutting a switch if she heard some of our word choices.  I honestly believe this shows either an uneducated (read: stupid) mind or a lazy mind.  A good and decent vocabulary requires having good and decent things in your head.  This week, to help keep my mind from straying into the sin of worry, I've been focusing on Philippians 4:8-9

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. ~ESV

Frankly, I can see no reason to ever drop the F-bomb or most other swear words.  There is a time for anger to be sure, but not for expletives....including minced oaths which are mere shadows of what is truly in our sinful hearts.

None of the above troubles me as much as the lack of respect shown during worship services.  Worship is to be God-centered.  It's difficult to achieve that when the person behind you is talking (not just whispering, talking), the person next to you is drinking Starbucks while munching a doughnut, and the girl in front of you is obviously proud to be sporting a thong.  There are so many distractions in worship services today, including the ever popular cell phone interruptions.  Worship comes from the Greek word  proskuneo meaning "to bow before."  I think some of us (self included sometimes) tend to forget that we are there to worship the sovereign God of the universe who takes worship very seriously, regardless of whether or not we have good intentions or just "forgot."

So, why do we do all these things when we know better?  I believe it is because we are all basically self-centered.  That guy who cut you off in traffic had no idea that his actions scared you senseless or upset you; he was only thinking about his personal agenda.  Everything we do and say (or wear) affects someone else (unless you're a hermit, but if you're reading this, you're NOT a hermit).  I believe that if we change the focus of our hearts and minds to being God-centered rather than self-centered, a lot of us will mature naturally.  

I'm also going to start asking myself to try to understand the position of others.  Perhaps the guy who cut me off in traffic was rushing to the hospital.  It's unlikely, but possible.  No matter what, he is a person who stands in need of Christ.  What about the store clerk who is rude or unwilling to be helpful, etc.?  We just don't know what's going on in another person's personal life.  The world is full of hurting people.  How can we point them to Christ if  we're so focused on our own needs and desires?  Again, ultimately, we/I need to be more God-centered.  It's high time we grew up....

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