Tonight I was part of a group of people who came together to celebrate the birth of a man who is from a generation (or two) before me. I’m not sure how old Mr. Elbert is but he shared stories of working as a milk man, bread man, etc and earning $55/week. He talked about how he learned good work ethic from his mom when he had to shell beans (the moral of the story is that it is worth spending more time doing it right the first time than doing it over again). He shared about how he learned to care for the interest of others as he was a delivery man – how he connected with those he served. He recalled that he had this job before he was married and continued this work – running routes of hundreds of miles a day with no radio – after he was married.
He spoke to a younger group of adults; some single, most married, one couple with a young baby. He invited us to use his home and pool whenever we want – this was after hosting us all for a delicious low-country boil on his birthday. He was teary-eyed when he prayed for the meal and spoke his thanksgiving for the food as well as for the younger generation who he felt blessed to have with him tonight.
I left the evening earlier than most which afforded me the opportunity to ride home with the sunset. As my jeep protested the steep route of the bridge that connected me back to Savannah, I was able to give some attention to the beauty that was sinking out of sight.
As my jeep was quieted by the restful downward coast into town, my radio was more noticeable – people singing about people. One song was about how God made girls so boys could be boys.
Something about the timing of all of this stirred together a softness that mushed into heartache. What I shared on instagram and facebook was really only a brief overstatement about my heartache for the world around me.
I feel as though this generation has accomplished a lot regarding social justice, social equality, awareness and freedom not known in previous generations – those generations having laid the track for us to barrel down this path. (I am not saying we have all reached equality or justice or freedom.)
However, I also feel as though our generation has sacrificed so much of the good that previous generations modeled for us; how to connect and care for one another, how to sacrifice individual wants for needs of others, how to prioritize what in life is actually important v. what feels important.
The world is full of so much blame these days. This is not a new theme; it’s as old as the Garden. However, the intensity and the sting of the accusation does not make it truth.
Girls were made for boys to be boys.
It seems so simple.
But there are libraries filled with stacks of books about this complexity that has confounded us. There are inventories and tests and websites developed to tell us who we are and what we should do.
And with all of that, these days girls are developed to be independent and boys continue to be boys.
It seems to be the rarity to see boys walk out the hard road of the hard work of being the men to fill the role so that the girls can grow up to be the women they are created to be.
It is a cultural shift in a generation of self-awareness – as in the awareness surrounds the self. The blame rests on no one or group. The blame rests on the deceit in the Garden that caused the women to take charge and the men to be quiet.
Shame on us for following the wrong example.