Thursday, November 15, 2007

Imagine the Cognitive Dissonance in the Children

By Stephen Hand, The Bride and the Dragon, more...

It is hardly a wonder so many teens today turn to drugs. It's not all wickedness. Sometimes it's bewilderment seeking the wrong relief. On the one hand children are brought up with the values and virtues taught in the home. But then they go to school (ever the laboratories of the new ideologies) and are told in a million subtle and not-so-subtle ways that their parents are wrong, retro, hopelessly lost in 'yesterday'. Especially regarding morals. This goes on for years. This alone makes for serious cognitive dissonance which is anxiety provoking, sometimes extremely so. Trouble is set for a dramatic, profound conflict between authorities in the child's life. The child is overwhelmed by conflicting signals, who to believe. Teachers seem like big kids. Parents seem out of it. Soon the child may begin to feel affection for his or her captors, and estranged from home.

Now add Television into the mix. Mom and / or Dad say one thing, but TV images to a child's mind are worth a thousand words: sex (explicit, implicit or inneuendo), violence, crude "comedy," and so on.

Then parents are disingenuously told by cynical commentators that they, parents, must teach their children values better, that pornography, "sex education," and violence per se are not "the problem". No. Of course not... Before you know it far more than a few teens have had enough and begin imitating what they have seen and heard about since they were almost infants---numbness, they think, is better than constant anxiety and conflict. Drown it out. And the parent then is close to despair.

It will continue like this until we put a stop to it. The question is, do we care to anymore? I hope so. But what to do...

Become a part or full-time activist, start a blog, write your congressman, do a stint in the slammer for non-violent demonstration against the moguls who are corruptive. Meanwhile, homeschool (or private school) the kids. Or risk losing them to a culture of death.

Could not local churches organize, say, an informal movie and fun day or evening supervised by parents once a week? A time for a spiritually attractive movie and / or other type of wholesome recreation, a small talk at dinner time (pot luck) which aims to teach real history, expose and counteract culturally perverse lies, and instill Franciscan-like desires for Christian goodness? Children and teens need positive, truly alternative experiences of life in Christ that will stay with them the rest of their lives. They need to be urged to consciously "receive Him" into their lives as Lord and Savior (Jn 1:12) that the gift of grace given at baptism may flower from within. We were made by God as visual-symbolic creatures, so Catholic faith symbols in display at the Church will be powerfully present to the child's spiritual receptors. These spiritual receptors have been overwhelmed by the hourly avalanche of bad or useless images in the culture today. The counter-offense needs to get underway. But we must make it happen. It is for the next generation we must live and work and love.