Carrol Vertrees: Easy to judge morality of young adults
March 24, 2012 7:36PM
Updated: April 26, 2012 8:11AM
In my rural kid days, before indoor plumbing and turn signals, when girl basketball players wore bloomers, when our phones were on a party line — the common definition of morals had mostly to do with sex.
Some girls remained chaste despite being chased, some probably didn’t. I was a slow runner so I can’t claim to be an expert.
One party line gossip revelation that I sneakily listened in on was the story that a young fellow I knew had bought what we later would call a contraceptive, probably at the local drug store. I wondered if a posse would burn the store, but I reckon this was mostly just judgmental talk — a practice most of us do well.
Now we talk about that stuff openly. Have we changed? Has morality changed? Can reality and morality co-exist?
I thought of that when I saw a newspaper column about the “lack of morals” in young adults. The writer exaggerates, I believe.
Younger folks may tend to be less religiously affiliated than older generations, but surveys show that they may pray as much as we older — you know, real good people — and they believe in God about as deeply as some of us do.
Some in the younger generation, I have heard, feel that condemning others is not the way to treat people. Judging others, though, may make us feel more secure — you know, better than “they” are.
Many Americans continue to spread the lie that the president is not an American citizen, and worse, many keep on believing. It may make good happy-hour talk or a church parking lot topic, but it is immoral to feed this lie — it is a kind of party-line thing from back home. It sounds good to some, so they won’t let it go.
A major writer comments on how bad today’s young people are “in thinking and talking about moral issues.” Some of us older creations don’t do well, either.
The addiction to be judgmental can be dangerous — chasing illusions that make us feel good can be hazardous to our mental and attitudinal health. But we go on, believing what we want to hear.
Many of us in older generations are caught in a culture trap that affects our thinking about morals and behavior, and we may become judgmental toward younger people. It is natural and tempting, but it is wrong to blame younger people for not going to church. We should ask why they don’t, but that is bothersome.
A writer said recently that the young folks we talk about have different morals, and different ways of articulating them. He says that’s good, and he might be right. But it is disturbing to think outside the box we have entered. Old ducks like me don’t want our definitions challenged.
I have been a church goer since before I can remember, and I have sung a bunch of solos from the choir lofts. Surely that makes me a really moral guy. Well, it proves that I like to sing and enjoy going to church, but the real test of my moral level is in what I say about people after church, or how I act between Sundays, how I sing in the great cantata of daily living. Solos are not good enough. We have to listen to others in the choir or we cannot harmonize.
That is what I believe.