“Why do you boast of evil, you might man [woman]?” Psalm 52: 1
I spend most of my days in the company of teenagers. As such, it has become a habit for me to end each week with the following statement: “Be good, have fun and make good decisions!”
It is a well known fact that teenagers often make very poor decisions, but what I couldn’t fathom was why they wanted to brag about the stupid things they were doing. I mean seriously. Every time a super-villain stopped to explain his ‘brilliant’ plan, he or she gets caught and defeated. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. So what should that tell you about bragging and boasting of your stupidity? I just don’t understand, which is what inspired this decision making flow chart for my students.
Still, the bragging continues.
“I refuse to look at that chart, Ms. C,” one student tells me. And when I question this student, the answer is simple: “Because then I would have to actually think through some of the things I am doing. Where is the fun in that?”
Insert groan here.
We like to believe that as a culture we are more civilized than the barbarians of yester-year, but are we? In many ways we are still as barbaric as our ancient ancestors. In my English 4 class we have talked a lot about heroes lately, comparing ancient civilizations to modern culture. Interestingly, in most cases, what leads to the hero’s downfall?
Boasting, bragging, and pride–often in the stupidest things.
So why don’t we learn from these barbaric heroes? Why don’t we live smarter?
I used to hate the story of Romeo and Juliet. Glorifying teenagers for making stupid and impulsive decisions seemed like the worst story you could ever teach to impressionable teenagers.
Until I realized this story is exactly what they need–if it’s taught with a different approach.
I don’t teach it as the greatest love story.
Because it’s not.
It’s a warning to the younger generation. A warning that could maybe even be traced back to the first impressionable person who decided to make an impulsive, stupid, emotion-driven decision.
David’s time was not the first, nor was it the last, moment in history where God looked down and saw that people had turned from him. Turned from wisdom (53:2).
As a culture, well even as a species, we need to stop glorifying people who make decisions like lovesick teenagers who can’t spot wisdom even if it punched them in the face.
We need to value those who seek wisdom (not just learning, but TRUE wisdom) and boast about good decisions people make rather than making celebrities out of people who kill, get drunk, abuse drugs, abuse people, and live in a narcissistic bubble of selfish desires. We not only need to be olive trees flourishing in God’s house (52: 8), we need to teach the future generation HOW to do this, and more importantly, WHY it is important and VALUED.
We value the wrong things.
We think if we prove we are right on a topic, then we win. But we don’t stop to see how we’ve pursued our quest to be right. How we hurt others. How we’ve set an example for those who are searching for value and we ripped that rug out from beneath them because we need to be validated.
We never stop to think that it’s maybe not so much about being right as it should be about living right.
The decisions we make shape the future.
Even if we don’t realize it.