The Problem with Our End Goals

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The Problem with Our End Goals

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One of the most tiring things as a teenager that I often hear, is “this generation struggles with…” Fill in the blank. I’ve heard responses ranging from “face to face communication” to “selfishness” to “respecting authority” to whatever. I understand that it’s probably true, TIME Magazine didn’t call us the “Me Me Me generation” for nothing (which is one of the nicer names for our generation), but it is extremely exhausting to see the list grow and grow of what we’re failing to do as teenagers. Looking out at the vast scope of whatever my future holds, it’s hard for me to be negative. Perhaps it’s because I’m intensely optimistic or perhaps its because no human actually knows what the future holds. We can only live in the now and remember the past.

I don’t think our “Me Me Me generation” is screwed over, I don’t think it’s the beginning of the end times (although I’m not saying it can’t happen), and I don’t think pointing out problems humans as a whole struggle with is helpful.

But I am concerned about one thing. I’m concerned about my generation, and the population as whole, only doing things for the purpose of entertainment or pleasure.  I want to be clear. This isn’t something we need to mull over during a lecture and then not change. We don’t need to get defensive over this. It’s only an observation.

I’ve seen it often: teens not coming back to a certain church, not volunteering with that one school program, dreading and complaining about anything that doesn’t have an endpoint of personal gain or pleasure. Part of it comes from individualism, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But we, especially as Christians, can’t let that play any part in our being human. We work, we live, we survive and flourish, but the endpoint should be a sharper image of Jesus and who he is, and not who we are. There is no “I am because we are” in our post-modern world, there is only an “I am because I am”.  So continue being a mentor to middle school students, even though its not fun. Continue trying to maintain close relationships with your parents or people you normally wouldn’t hang out with. Continue working. What we need to do is have a deft shift in our thought process, redefining the idea of humility and community.

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