So You Wanna be a Toys'R'Us Kid?
June 21, 2005

If there ever were a trait of the Western society, it would be our glorification of extended periods of youthfulness. While some cultures celebrate Bar Mitzvahs or some other meaningful rites of passage into responsibility, most Americans deem the right to legally drink alcohol the defining event of adulthood. It matters not how old you are. If you don't want to grow up, darn it, you don't have to. There is a general consensus that grown adults with facial hair and aging spots can continue to shrug off responsibility and act like juveniles without common sense.

This "celebration" manifests in a number of ways. On any given Saturday night, a stroll through your city's center will reveal the decay of responsibility as we know it. There you'll find career panhandlers, 42-year-old women lining up in miniskirts to get into the club, and adults with day jobs and mortgages walking around the streets in a drunken stupor and singing karaoke very badly. Which isn't to say karaoke is a bad thing. If that's your bag, then by all means please, butcher yet another Whitney Houston classic.

While some people just refuse to grow up, the rest of us sit back and make excuses for the partakers in youthful revelry. We say things like, "His father beat him," or "She was poor," or "She grew up without parents," or "He never really had a childhood." Somehow the presence of life's hardships qualifies certain people for a pardon of the same responsibility of adulthood. In light of this reality, I have a news flash for us all:

Life's not fair. And then you die.

No matter who you are or where you come from, someone else has it worse. We have all faced hardship in varying degrees and measure, but the onset of adulthood requires us to grow up. It is truly disheartening to see people so thrown off the course of life by a family curse, a rocky childhood, or a devastating life experience. What's sad is a world that would have us to think we must remain shackled to our past--that there is no deliverance and no possibility for "success." The true overcomers don't get the credit they deserve and instead we make excuses for the sick.

So how is it that a 46-year-old disfigured pop icon who's admitted to inapporpriately sleeping with boys still remains "innocent?" Many have chalked it up to poor prosecution and sketchy witnesses. I chalk it up to a society that is sympathetic to the plight of the immature and dysfunctional adult. Enough with the romanticized acceptance of Jackson's brand of strange. We live in a society that has standards (no matter how vague and low). Still, I am certain a court of law will never be the location of Jackson's conviction. Our culture isn't ready to set such a presendent of accountability. For that reason alone, it's a good thing conviction of the heart is a far more accurate judge of character.

The biggest issue at stake isn't that justive be served, but that Jackson would break out of the shackles and join the mature, healthy, and fully functioning adults of our society.

Posted by Ambra at June 21, 2005 3:34 AM in Culture
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'Contraception has meant that boys don't ever have to grow up and become men.'

--paraphrase of Rabbi Daniel Lapin.

When I was little and complained to my dad about how unfair it was that I was born with legs that didn't work and and couldn't do things the other kids did my dad wisely told me that life is not fair. It was hard to swallow sometimes but it was the truth and I'm thankful that he let me know that at an early age. Of course he was always loving when he share that truth with me and reminded me that God had a greater purpose even if I could not see it at the time. He was right!


I agree that it's become easier and easier to pass off life's responsibility due to a very unfortunate value of "entitlement" running rampant in this country. I'm not sure what your views are when it comes to mercy, justice, individualism, relativism, compassion, etc. ~ but as I read this post ~ I see a frustration with the public's general inability to "wake up" and take ownership of their lives and mistakes. But I also see a twinge of individualism "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" (which again, you may not be trying to do,) that could take away from the need for folks to have compassion and take action for the sake of others who have been adversely affected by the sins of the community (not just the individual). I guess what I'm trying to say is that we don't merely need to take responsibility for ourselves, but I think we need to also "be our brother's keeper". Maybe the answer is not to try and minimize the suffering others have gone through (whether large or small)or dismiss it as an excuse, but to take steps to come alongside them, enter into their stories & suffering, and walk with them to the place of "success" that you mention. It could also mean elaborating on what "success" looks like ~ I'd love to hear your thoughts on that!

Aw man, you missed your chance!
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