by Candace Cortez
I am a Navy Brat. We moved to Lemoore because of my Dad’s orders to NAS Lemoore. They have recently been redeployed and are now living in Florida. It’s been about 2 years since they have lived here and it has not been my favorite thing living away from my family. During a long visit this past month, I noticed many things about both my parents that I had not realized before. Little gestures, or sounds that I had missed during our time apart. Taking notice of these habits, I was shocked to see some of those same tendencies in myself. I know, I know! There are a dozen clichés out there about being the product of our parents and becoming your mother that just flashed through my head. I know I picked up my work ethic, my creativity, and my ability to listen to my parents. I suppose I just hadn’t noticed how many other things they had passed onto me. And now, my husband and I are currently passing certain things on to our children. Some things on accident, while others with specific intentionality.
In scripture, I recently read in Judges 2 about an entire generation who did not pass on the story of their faith in God to the next generation. I have been wondering about this since I read that passage. I wonder what kept the story from being heard. Maybe it wasn’t articulated well. Maybe the outside culture was louder and more convincing than the message of their parents. Maybe the parents were afraid of controlling their children’s belief’s so they watered down their passion and faith. Maybe the generation before had stopped living their faith in their real lives and allowed it to become predominantly ceremonial. Maybe they hadn’t figured out how to include their own children in the process when the miracles hadn’t happened for them. The maybe’s are endless.
Maybe we are doing the same.
I do not want to miss out on passing on the fire of my faith to those younger (either in age or in belief) than myself. God gave EVERYTHING to make sure the way for us to Him was possible. He gave His Son to die. To make sure people know that, most of the time, we just have to have some conversations.
You may not have children. Or your children may be grown. Or you may not have a good relationship with your children. Or you may be a “child” yourself! But we are all called to raise up the next generation. Part of knowing how to show love and your love for Jesus to someone else means you may need to know who that someone else is. A conversation with the understanding of acceptance and love goes much further than those that are shrouded in person-less agenda. Here are a couple bits of data collected by *Barna on their research report on Generation Z, the generation of young people currently in Elementary, Middle, and High School.
• Teens 13-18 years old are twice as likely as adults to say they are atheist (13% vs. 6%).
• About half of Gen Z is non-white.
• Half say happiness is their ultimate goal in life. For 43%, happiness equals financial success.
• More than half of teens use screen media 4 or more hours per day. One quarter report they look at screens 8 or more hours on an average day.
• One-third reports being bullied online.
This is just the most basic snapshot. If you want to pass on something important to
someone, you may want to consider getting to know that someone. I hope I pass on more than my laugh to my little ones. I am praying daily that they catch more than even a value of hard work. My prayer is that they, and their generation with them, falls in love with Jesus in a way that is real, and life-changing. Be a part of making disciples in this generation! Get to know a person younger than yourself, and pass on one of the most important gifts you can ever give: the story of why you believe.
*Gen Z: The Culture, Beliefs, and Motivations Shaping the Next Generation by Barna in partnership with 360 Institute