Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“Life as it is. I have lived for over forty years and I have seen life as it is…I’ve heard all the voices of God’s noblest creature…These were men who saw life as it is. ..Only their eyes filled with confusion…questioning why.
I do not think they were asking why they were dying…but why they had ever lived.
When life itself seems lunatic who knows where madness lies…To surrender dreams…this may be madness. To seek treasure where there is only trash…too much sanity may be madness.
And the maddest of all…to see life as it is and not as it should be!”
Cervantes, “The Man of La Mancha”
I don’t know if the cold weather has brought me back to my senses, or whether it’s the painful realization that I can’t scrub the slime from Friday night off my body and from my mind. I knew better than to go. We hadn’t attended in nearly ten years.
It’s billed as the “world’s largest student-run pep rally.” Gator Growl. It’s not worth it and more than that—it continues to live up to the low expectations of degradation which our culture encourages today. It’s a sad madness which showcases the results of the low expectations our society puts on the youth, college-age and young-adults of our nation and world, and which they then accept as the standard for themselves…and the next generation. Even this year’s guest host—a former and well-respected player at the University of Florida—wanted to but didn’t eliminate the crudeness which preceded and followed his appearance on stage.
The responses to my slightly older, more life-experienced view (some may say “crotchety”) are:
“Well, Gator Growl is for the college students,” or
“It is what it is, everybody is doing it.”
Whatever those expressions mean, they are fatalistic, slovenly, low-targeted and not worthy of us. And yet maybe that’s why when we look around we see our society—and world—battling against a slide into a moral abyss and a loss of any sense of moral direction, let alone our God-given heritage and direction.
When did we begin to expect less of our students? When did we begin to expect less of ourselves? Is it inevitable that we will allow our younger children to begin to expect less of themselves? When did we begin to say that once our children entered high school or college it was okay for them to expect less of themselves and allow others to abuse and use them? Will we allow them, and others, to begin to degrade and debase them as valuable children of God?
Webster’s New World Dictionary—College Edition, defines “debase” as “to make lower in value, quality, character, dignity, etc.” Synonyms include: vitiate, deprave, corrupt, debauch, pervert and degrade. In general, according to Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, “debase indicates a drastic and regrettable lowering in worth, value, and dignity and a loss of fine and good qualities,” i.e. morals, soundness of judgment, purity, integrity, loyalty, duty and honor.
That’s what I’m still trying to wash off from Friday night—a sense and feeling of being debased. As an aside, though, it happens also almost anytime I turn on the television today—and much to my stunning surprise—even with programs touted for children. Parents who attended Growl Friday night were no doubt glad they didn’t bring their children as they, and the rest of us, sat there and let the soilure wash over us all.
When did we begin to lower the expectations for ourselves and our children, for our students and college students, for our young adults and beyond? When did we as a society begin to turn a blind eye to the societal debasement and degradation of those younger impressionable ones for whom we are, or should be, responsible? When did we forget that—whether we do, or not—someone or something will determine and influence the direction of their lives—forever—during these impressionable years? When did we forget that those who look up to us, those whom we have a responsibility to nurture and influence—will rise only to the level of our expectations?
“And the maddest of all…to see life as it is and not as it should be!”
And the madness is everywhere—media, movies, commercials, stores, homes, televisions, schools, government buildings, even law enforcement and churches have been heard to accept as inevitable—“everybody is doing it”—the degradation of our generations through the cultural glorification of drugs, sex, sexuality, lack of privacy, loss of innocence and purity, alcohol, violence, language and lack of civility.
When did we begin to expect less of ourselves and those for whom we should feel a responsibility to nurture, influence and mentor? When did we give up and declare in the face of a culture and generations (including our own and younger) that are being debased and destroyed from within that…“it is what it is”, and to accept “life as it is”, instead of trying to strive to make life once again what “it should be?” Striving again to make life what God intended it to be at the beginning of it all—“God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.” Genesis 1: 31 (NIV).
It’s a madness that has to be changed. And it has to begin with you and with me—to see life as it should be—very good—and expect no less from ourselves, those around us, and those whom we influence in every generation.
Just something to think about for the rest of your life.
In His Name—Scott