2020: The Year our Children Need Clarity
School Leader Bible Study
2020: The Year our Children Need Clarity
Week of January 5, 2019 by Tom Deighan
I have one good eye and one bad eye, depending on how you look at it. My eye doctors call it monovision, which means one eye is good up close and the other eye is good far-off. As a result, I can read and drive without glasses or contacts, depending upon which eye I favor. I have 20/20 vision, but it also means I am eligible to wear a monocle, but that would just be silly without a top hat. After all there is a fine line between looking distinguished and looking like The Penguin. Consequently, I save the monocle and top hat for only the most auspicious of occasions, like meeting the Queen of England.
Monovision requires the brain to merge one blurry image with one clear image, so it takes some getting used to, and unfortunately, some people simply cannot function with one myopic and one presbyopic eye. The mind cannot always reconcile the polarized visions, so many people struggle ultimately having to close one eye to make sense of the world, depending on the situation. Since my brain is naturally confused, it accepts both the blurry and the clear fairly well. On occasion, however, I have to close one eye to focus. If you ever think I am winking, I am really just temporarily confused. It is not always possible to make sense of such different perspectives.
As we enter a new decade, I cannot help but see the similarities in our nation. We seem gripped by two very polarizing visions of our nation and culture. One vision is so myopic as to exclude just about anything that cannot be captured in a selfie. Neither history nor reality nor science nor common sense can be considered under such circumstances for truth has become so relative that it only relates to me. On the other hand, the other vision is so presbyopic that we only view reality on vast continuums that require the greatest of presumptuousness in asserting absolute certainty about our uncertain futures.
The pressure to see things through only extreme lenses has become so overwhelming that we often close one eye. Sometimes we do so for clarity, and sometimes we do so for self-preservation because so many people are committed to poking the eye they disagree with. The longer we keep on eye closed, however, the weaker our other eye gets. Eventually, we forfeit the ability to see any other perspective except the microscopic or telescopic, and neither perspective alone can meet our needs. Looking through either lens exclusively reveals our digital age to be as vapid and empty as every other gilded age. Both views can lead to despair. This stresses us adults, so just imagine how it impacts our children.
A recent survey revealed that 89% of teens and young adults in Britain see no purpose in life. The reasons range from the “selfie” culture’s impossible pursuit of photoshop perfection to the sincere belief that climate change will destroy the world in their lifetimes. In other words, utter self-absorption versus apocalyptic escapism. Reconciling such different views of the world has given us adults headaches, but it may be much more detrimental to our children if we do not help them see the world with clarity. Their vision in 2020 is not 20/20.
Social media artificially inflates the value of the temporary and steals their joy, while the dystopian view of global warming robs them of hope. Instead of handing out eyepatches, therefore, we should encourage them to open both eyes. They need to be taught that all predictions of the end of the world have been greatly exaggerated and that their lives are not measured in “likes” or “dislikes.” As the adults in their lives, we have the power to restore purpose through healthy perspectives. We can help guide them to joy, hope, and peace – things this generation desperately needs.
The Bible certainly affirms that the world as we know it will end, but Jesus personally reminds us that no one knows when that will happen (Matt. 24:36). As Christians, therefore, we want our children to have hope. Likewise, as educators we should be concerned when our children suffer such mental distress about items they did not cause and cannot control – politics aside and regardless of what any of us think about issues like global warming. Children have a tremendous capacity to think critically, but we must provide them with balanced vision on an issue, training them how to thoughtfully looks at all issues up-close and far-away. Pray for the children in your schools that they may know hope and peace.
On the other hand, our children desperately desire a purpose bigger than themselves. They know that social media self-infatuation is empty and vapid, but just as we could not escape our respective teenage cultures in our day, they need perspective to rise above current pop culture. As Christians, we know that God does not want us to be afraid “because (we) are precious and honored in (His) sight.” (Isaiah 43:4) And as educators, we want them to know that they have value simply for existing, irrespective of “likes” or “dislikes.” Pray for the children in your schools that they may know joy and purpose.
Our children need to be trained to balance the close-up with the far-off. They need 20/20 vision in 2020 more than ever. They need hope beyond today so they can confidently find purpose in their lives outside of touch screens and the apocalypse. So may 2020 be the year of clarity for our children. May we teach them how to reconcile the uncertainty of this world by using both eyes, so they can simultaneously embrace the excitement of today and the wonder of eternity. May they never confuse the temporary with the permanent, and may they never take themselves or predictions of the apocalypse too seriously. And if they choose to wear a monocle to meet the Queen of England, may they also wear a top hat, for any other choice would just be silly.
Please share with someone who needs encouragement. Sign up at www.tomdeighan.com. Copyright Tom Deighan.