People’s attitudes are different now than when I was growing up. I’m not really that old, though I have passed my life’s mid-century mark, but I remember a time when people conducted themselves in a much more dignified, decorous and decent manner. People were generally more conscientious about their appearance, were more polite, showed respect to others, especially their elders, were not offended by every little thing, could laugh at themselves, did not feel that the world owed them anything, felt a sense of self-reliance and felt embarrassed if they had to depend on someone else, especially the government, to support them.
Of course there have always been problems. There were broken homes then, too, but there was also an understanding and an appreciation of the fact that the family was the moral center of society. I don’t think many people today own that view. Marriage was held up as a sacred institution and divorce was frowned upon and considered a failure. There was no question about the nature of marriage, as to who could marry another. Marriage was by definition–and understood by everyone–to be only between a man and a woman. Period.
Homosexuality may have been practiced, but it was hidden, for the most part. In fact, it wasn’t until 1973 that the American Psychiatric Association voted to downgrade homosexuality in its official list of mental disorders to a “sexual disturbance.” It wasn’t until 1987 that it was removed completely from it’s official list of mental disorders. Today, however, if you suggest in any way that homosexuality is sinful or irrational behavior, you are considered to be the one with a mental problem. To top it all off, we now have a man who thinks he is a woman acting as the assistant health secretary in the United States who has indicated he intends to go after those holding the traditional views of marriage.
People’s attitudes have changed with regard to modesty. People then dressed with dignity, especially the older generation. Men wore hats and doffed them to women out of respect. People wore their best dress clothes when going to a function like worship or a funeral, again, out of respect. Today it is not unusual to see people dress in very inappropriate and sloppy attire when attending these functions. All of this indicates a general lack of respect for others and for traditional customs and values.
Now, the younger generation back then, my generation, was already on it’s way to wearing less modest clothing. But my dad’s generation and his dad’s generation continued to wear modest, respectful attire and my dad and mom always saw that their children dressed with respect and for the occasion when we went somewhere. We were poor, but we were always taught to wear our best in public and be modestly dressed. Some people may respond that times and styles change. That is true, but while styles may change, modesty is timeless.
Another area where you can see a change in the attitudes of people is speech. It used to be that people were taught to be respectful, to say “Yes sir” and “No sir” and “yes Ma’am” and “No Ma’am” and to say “Thank you” and “You’re welcome.” I am sure there are still young people being taught to do this, but I don’t think it is all that common. Many young people I meet today, and even a lot of the adults I come across, carry themselves without a true sense of humility and it shows in their speech.
There has always been a generation gap. There was one when I was a boy. I know from history that in various other ages the younger generation often did not connect with their parent’s generation. Yet the attitude of the young today toward the older generation is even more alarming. It is not just one of disconnect, but of disdain. This younger generation has been brought up, it seems, to hate the older generation. We see certain segments of our society brutally attacking older, defenseless Americans by punching them in the face. It has also manifested itself in an attack on those who are in authority, like the police, for instance. Groups of young, restless, hateful terrorists take over portions of our cities and we just let them do it. In fact, they are glorified by the left. Those who would try to bring peace and order are the ones who are condemned.
We are in trouble, very deep trouble, as a society. The world has been turned upside down and no one has the courage, perhaps even no one has the power, to set it right. The reason for all of this is nothing more than that we have left the moral compass of God’s will. Our society does not believe in much less glorify God. We have turned coldly materialistic except when some false, man-made idol can be concocted and worshiped. We kill innocent babies and let the elderly die because they drain financial resources with no return because we no longer believe all life is sacred. We fund those who mutilate their bodies because they have the delusion they “identify” as something other than what they are biologically because they reject the order of God’s creation. This horrendous list could go on with stories that literally would make your skin crawl.
I pray for our nation and the world. We are spiraling out of control into the depths of perdition and damnation. The momentum of the moral direction we are falling may not be able to be stopped in any short period of time, if at all. As time goes on, things may grow considerably worse for the Christian. We must be prepared for the worse, pray for the best and never lose our faith in God.
Eric L. Padgett