Herbert W Armstrong Library
Sign In  |  MyHWA  |    
The Generation Gap - Why?
Plain Truth Magazine
November 1968
Volume: Vol XXXIII, No.11
QR Code
The Generation Gap - Why?
Garner Ted Armstrong   
Church of God

Born: February 9, 1930
Died: September 15, 2003
Member Since: 1930
Ambassador College: 1956
Ordained: 1955
Office: Evangelist

Why do young people feel their elders don't understand them? WHY do so many youths REJECT everything their parents stand for? Well more than one half of the world's population is under twenty-one. Suddenly youth is in revolt. Are these youthful voices the wave of the future?

   LIKE, MAN you're nowhere!
   You just don't make the scene, y'know?" says the 15-year-old to his own father. "Forget it mom will-ya? Just forget it, like, you just don't dig, you really don't you're just nowhere!" says the high school girl to her mother.
   Suddenly, it's the generation gap. Parents don't understand their children's talk.
   Children don't understand their parents at all.

Youth in Rebellion

   Suddenly, it's the young people of the world who seem to "cause all the problems" to most adults. College-age students riot, scream obscenities, defy police, occupy college buildings, and join extremist groups.
   Teenagers run away from home, "fade the scene," and become aimless hippies; indulging in premarital sex, drugs, and, oftentimes, crime.
   Students riot in Japan, Czechoslovakia, France, Italy, Mexico, and the United States.
   Are these youthful voices the true voice of the future? Are their screams of indignation the patent prophecy for profound sociological change? Will teenagers soon elect their own officials and practically run whole nations?
   Today, youth is in revolt. Parents seem unable to either control or influence their children. Schools seem unable to cope with them, and police departments report the largest representative age groups in crime categories are the tenderest teens. Never in all history has youthful rebellion been such a major issue never before such a social blight. Never before have mere students been able to virtually topple a government.
   But against WHAT are they rebelling? What are their specific feelings about life, about the "establishment" and about the future? Ask THEM, and find out!

Youth Has Reasons

   They'll tell you a variety of reasons and most of them quite valid.
   First and foremost, they will tell you they hate WAR. They'll tell you they RESENT being told about the "bomb" and the space race. They'll inform you THEY, the teenagers and students, haven't got any grudges against the Russians, Chinese, North Vietnamese or any other human beings.
   And they'll probably launch into a rather long and involved discussion on these various principles based on what they have heard, read, or seen from their "peers" and from other youths like themselves.
   You'll hear words like "honesty," even when mixed with sex honesty in admitting what they are, what they're doing, and what they believe.
   And why the talk about honesty?
   Simply because they have discovered they live in a dishonest world. Most people around them, from businessmen to political leaders, seem to pretend to be one thing and are usually another. From the sensational "inside" story books, they read of the chicanery in government, business, industry, finance, and education. From the blatantly lurid motion pictures, they see the examples of adult aberrations, crime, violence, perverted sex, or the glorification of war. In the classroom, they may be listening to non-teachers, or ultra-liberal professors who philosophize about God, sex, and government.
   From the proponents of hippeism, they hear "a little pot never hurt anybody."
   If they're male they face the draft. Female, and they wonder about where any real happiness and security is found in a nutty world like ours.
   Out of college, out of high school, they're disillusioned, frustrated, "turned off" toward their parents, teachers, and all society. In college, thousands of them revolt, demand different classes, new professors, racist lecturers, liberalization of dormitory rules or the removal from campus of the chancellor.
   Never in history have so many nations been so on the defensive before their own youth.
   In France, youthful demonstrators triggered nationwide strikes that nearly toppled President de Gaulle, brought the French economy to a virtual standstill.
   In Mexico, near civil war conditions prevailed prior to the opening of the Olympic Games, with dissident student demonstrators sniping at police in riotous melees which left a large number dead, wounded and in jail.
   In Britain, huge anti-American, anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, bombings, destruction of property and rioting were increasingly in the news.
   Students were rioting in Germany, in Czechoslovakia, in Japan, in Greece, and in Jordan and Egypt.
   In the United States, it's a time of dissent, unrest, violence and rioting for America's college and university campuses.
   Rebellion. Dissent. Rejection. Riot. These are the headlines of today that seem to rhyme with "youth" and "student."
   But WHY?
   Is there any overall cohesiveness to these youthful revolts? Is there any worldwide significance?

Not All from the Same Causes

   Those who riot in Egypt against "Israeli Aggression" are obviously not rioting for the same reasons as British hippies against the war in Vietnam.
   The yippies in Chicago were obviously not rioting and demonstrating for the same reasons as the youthful Negroes of Washington, D.C., following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.
   But whether French, Japanese, American or Scandinavian there is a great deal youthful dissidents have in common.
   They share a common world. They see a common threat to their future. They fear a common fate.
   One thing is sure. The time is long past when youthful students can be told to quietly study their books, and leave the decisions to their leaders and elders.
   Recognizing the power of shock tactics, of terror and violence, many millions of youths the world over have joined or formed various youth organizations.
   Many of them are Communist. Others are Communist-infiltrated. Some are paramilitary others are just for free sex. Some are "drop-out" and "don't care" in attitude and others are obviously politically activist.
   But whether challenging their own government, on the local, state, or Federal level, or challenging their schools, their parents, or their churches today's youth seems bent on challenging. Determined to protest. Dedicated to revolt.

One of the Common Causes

   The most important worldwide cause of youthful unrest and feelings of resentment is one shared by all humanity.
   It is the simple fact of today.
   Today we face a world divided against itself, possessing enough nuclear capacity for the destruction of more than 44 worlds like ours; with hot wars and cold wars, mounting liberalism and promiscuity, the double standard and overcrowding, pornography and the pill; the promises of government and the failure of parents.
   At his earliest moments of awareness, each youth, whether living in Japan or New England, is taught about the world he lives in.
   And he begins to ask, "But why ME? Why Now?"
   He begins to wonder "But why didn't they ask ME about it? Why are you telling me this is my world when I had no hand in making it so?"
   Can the average 14-year-old help resenting the news that his world, and his future, can blow up at any moment? Can the average teenage draftee HELP resenting a world filled with fights not of his making; problems not of his creation; frustrations beyond his solving?
   Very quickly, after beginning to learn of the imagination-staggering plight of this modern world, a teenager begins asking himself "WHY?" He wonders How the world GOT this "In the last days it shall come to pass that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains... and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the LAW shall go forth of Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Micah 4:1-2).
   This shows that God will "TEACH us" the practical way of life of His Law of individual well-being, safety and of world PEACE. Men everywhere must and WILL be taught the proper respect for and understanding of true law and order!
   Notice also: "Nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they LEARN war any more" (verse 3). Here we find that men no longer will be taught to hate, fight and kill in war. Instead, they will be taught the WAY to peace.
   Finally, the prophet Jeremiah outlines the solution to Step Three CHANGING human nature: "After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my LAW in their inward parts and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people" (Jeremiah 31:33). Beginning with Israel, God will pour out His Spirit upon all people and put within them through the Holy Spirit His very nature. He will place within them His love, kindness, outgoing concern and His wisdom, knowledge, faith and self-control.
   Then, and then only, there will be individual and worldwide PEACE, prosperity and joy through obedience to the laws of God as applied to the entire earth!
   Sound fantastic?
   Perhaps it does if the reality and proof of God and His Word are new to you. But this wonderful future can be PROVED it is worth looking into, studying about and proving.
   So once again, read our free booklets described above on the proof of God. Also read the unusually scintillating, fully illustrated, absolutely free booklets entitled: The Wonderful World Tomorrow - What It Will Be Like and CRIME CAN BE STOPPED...here's how! They describe in vivid detail what I have outlined above the real SOLUTION to law and order, to universal PEACE and to all the ails and woes of mankind.
   The real solution to these problems will not come about through the efforts of any man or any politician. But it will come, nevertheless! Be sure you understand and are prepared for the fantastic changes in the world situation now beginning to unfold before your eyes. way WHY it did and WHERE IS IT GOING?
   He RESENTS the conditions of this present world. Sometimes, he becomes excited about causes he thinks can help change it, and demonstrates even riots. Sometimes, he becomes so resigned to the helpless situation he just gives up, drops out, and lives for the moment, in a licentious morass of sex, drugs, crime and hopelessness.
   Obviously, there are dozens, even hundreds of reasons most of them intensely personal ones, why youngsters defy authority, reject parents, fight police, and revolt. But the one biggest reason is they simply DO NOT LIKE THIS WORLD the way it is and desperately want to change it.

The Traditional Barriers

   But why aren't these youthful demonstrators quietly studying their assigned texts, instead of loudly disagreeing with their university officials?
   Simply because all the traditional shapers of youthful opinion and action have themselves undergone a revolution.
   The traditional opinion-formers of society any society have always been the home, school, and church.
   But no longer do most homes succeed in producing children according to the standards of that home. No longer does the school seem to form, shape, or direct the thinking of its pupils. No longer does stentorian thunder quail the young from the pulpits of the land. In the midst of youthful turmoil, these three are strangely ineffective in curbing or halting teen rebellion.
   Actually, these three are often as not the target of teen rebellion.
   And the reason they are the target of teenage rebellion is because the teens feel most betrayed by each of these three.
   Here are the shocking reasons, and more of the underlying CAUSES behind youthful revolt today.

The Home

   The home, any home, or the lack of it, is the world's first authority, the world's first comfort, the world's first protection, provision, security, warmth, to every young child regardless as to race, color or nationality. Yet in a worldwide sense, the home is fast disappearing as the traditional bulwark for standards of conduct.
   Taking the United States as an outstanding example almost every third home has already been ripped asunder by divorce.
   Many a study is available which directly links juvenile delinquency and teenage crime with broken homes. But for each home directly involved in a divorce, there are others which are only hollow shells of their former selves a couple barely clinging together because of socio-economic pressures, and not because of any desire of their own.
   Remember, every home is a building block of society. As go our homes, so goes our nation. A house divided against itself cannot stand just as nations filled with divided homes will not stand. In America, in the affluence following World War II, thousands of American families found themselves better able to afford more of this world's entertainment. Television was on the increase, and millions of Americans were now able to afford top Hollywood talent, nightly, in their own living rooms. Many social changes were occurring all at the same time among them a relaxing of morals in the traditional areas of morals-watchers, including the Church, motion picture censorship, court control over indecency and pornography.
   Labor-saving devices, new automobiles, new entertainments, new hobbies, and the growing affluence were all making it easier for Mom to escape the drudgery of the kitchen, to have additional social pursuits, or even hold down her own job.
   The television set became an automatic baby sitter, many thousands of women got married, had babies, quickly put them in school, and then plunged into their own social lives which, often as not, ended up in a divorce and a "second time around" searching for a never-discovered happiness.
   Far more than 6 million Americans are now divorced or separated, and while the United States contains only 6% of the earth's population, more than a third of the divorces in the world are granted in the United States.
   Divorce has risen 7 times as fast as the population in the United States and is on the increase. Obviously, to analyze the entire picture of the dissolution of the American home, and its complete ineffectiveness in accepting its responsibility as the traditional teacher of morals, the instiller of social values and spiritual precepts, would take at least one large book, if not several.
   For a complete picture of what is happening in our homes and marriages, you need to read our two free booklets on the subject of marriage entitled, Your MARRIAGE Can be Happy, and Why Marriage! Soon Obsolete?
   But any way you want to slice it, the American home is fast disintegrating.
   Few people seem to have paid much attention to what the destruction of home life has done to the nation's youth.
   But a few statistical studies would very simply establish the facts that while fully more than 50% of all Americans are now under 21, and while almost every third American home has been broken by divorce, that a tremendous percentage of these youths have already lived through at least one parental failure, replete with all of the fights, squabbles, aberrant sexual behavior, courtroom scenes, economic chaos, and heartbreak that always accompany such domestic turmoil.
   The revolutionary social changes which have directly affected the home are almost endless. Among them are the pill, the working mother, the alcoholic father, the "Jackass Formula" of entertainment (the attack upon fatherhood by many different media) and a host of other related causes.
   Today's teenager lives increasingly in a home where communication has all but disappeared, where understanding of his own problems is rare, and where any real semblance of orderly family life has all but disappeared.
   In a broad, general sense, American homes have betrayed America's most precious natural resource America's children.
   Self-seeking, pleasure-mad, lust-filled middle-aged Americans have heedlessly tossed aside the really important social values of the home, a sound marriage, LOVE, HONOR, AND OBEY, for the cheap, tinsel-wrapped glitter of entertainment, kisses under the mistletoe, casual affairs, and the excitement of a Hollywood-glamorized "life over forty."
   You don't believe it?
   Police agencies, divorce lawyers, disturbed child counselors, and sociologists do!
   If you were the observer, listening to the stories of thousands of juvenile delinquents in the course of a year, hearing their woeful tales of hideous home life, of tenement-house horror and sex, of vermin, illegitimacy, dope, crime, and parental fights you would be utterly soulfully convicted and convinced that America's homes are totally sick totally corrupt!
   Actually, a truly happy and stable home is becoming, whether we like to admit it or not, a rarity on the American scene today.
   Consequently, the hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of children represented by these sick homes have come to feel betrayed.
   How can they trust the teachings of a father who himself cannot be trusted? Why listen to preachments about morals from a mother who herself is a part-time pickup in the neighborhood piano bar? Why believe in virginity and chastity when their mother takes them to her own physician for the obtaining of a device to insure against premarital pregnancy over their own protests? Why believe in truth and honesty from a father who openly boasts of his illegitimate business dealings, the stories he told on his income tax form, or sneers about the "fuzz" when passing a policeman?
   Why should the child grow up with a profound and far-reaching respect for members of another race while listening to his white father tell his "Nigger" jokes, or his black father talk of "Uncle Charley" or the white "Honky"?
   Children are a product. The home is the factory.
   Poor factories turn out poor products. You figure it out.

The School

   Again, going back to look for a brief moment at the developments in American society from the postwar world (and most of these developments have also spilled over into much of the rest of the English-speaking world), with all the new liberalisms in society, the schools have been perhaps the most liberal and "progressive" of all.
   With "progressive education," new methods of audio-visual education, new teaching aids and new texts, complete revolutionary changes have occurred in Western school systems. First came the missile race, and a complete shifting in emphasis in America's school systems.
   In the late fifties, the entire emphasis in American education was upon a crash program to produce more doctors, physicists, chemists, scientists of all types. The United States felt itself in a desperate rush to catch up with Russia's sensational "Sputnik" launching, which had captured the imagination of the world and revealed the ugly truth that the United States was, indeed, lagging behind what most of the world had always thought of as a completely agrarian and slow-moving society.
   In the flurry of little-researched, and hastily prepared textbooks and teaching methods, America's schools struggled to meet the new challenge.
   Instead of recognizing the inherent evils in specialization, and the immediate dissolution in the cultural and social values in the teaching of the technologies, America's school systems plunged heedlessly into a further glorification of the machine, the process, the computer.
   Only years later could some of America's universities begin to appreciate the wistful statement of the pimpled freshman who complained, "The only time I'm ever noticed around here is when I spindle my IBM card!"
   The teaching of the child psychologists and their advocacy of no punishment, no discipline, and no absolutes had gained acceptance in the highest educational levels. Also, thousands more were now able to afford "higher education" because of the new wave of affluence, coupled with the demand for greater specialization in all the professions and trades.
   Hundreds are the evils of the American educational system. It's one of the best in the world for producing scientists, specialists, chemists, mathematicians or professional students.
   It's also one of the best in the world for producing dissidents, protestors, disenchanted students, and riots.
   Today's textbooks ramble through millions of miles of trivia pounds of pages of philosophy; and the lists of pseudo-intellectuals produced by substandard professors in substandard classes dealing in substandard drivel would rival the lists of honored dead of World War II.
   Cite all the successful young corporation executives you wish; point to all the bright young men in grey commanding large green salaries you wish; the stark facts are America's colleges and universities are neither happy nor successful.
   And their Federal-supported lack of success is only another part of a larger evil that of the sacrifice of a nation's youth on the altar of intellectual prattle, while ignoring the true meaning and purpose of life itself.
   Said the bewildered Dean of Columbia, David B. Truman, "They [today's collegiate generation] don't seem to know who they are, where they're going, or why."
   Presumably that's what they came to college to find out.
   Ask the average student what he's getting out of college so long as you avoid the subject of sex. You'll probably be surprised.
   Today, there is the growing problem of the "professional" student who talks of being "washed up" at age 25, takes drugs, and smokes pot, and seems bored, apathetic, defeated, and unhappy.
   It takes a real love-in, a grand bash of a party, or a huge police confrontation to really excite this kid something dramatic, like draft-card burnings, flag trampling, or even flying wedges into police lines.
   Otherwise, he doesn't really know what school has done for him besides, that is, provide him with a kind of society-sanctioned, government-supported home away from home where everyone is pretty close to his own age, and anti-social behavior is not only accepted, but expected.
   No the schools, too, have failed our youth.
   They have failed to challenge. They have failed to stimulate. They have failed to truly educate and they have failed to produce the true product of true education; stable minds, mature outlooks, adult emotions, and bright hopes for the future.
   The product our colleges and universities are turning out is the sum total of today's youth bewildered, defeated, thwarted scared.
   And just as sure as you sometimes grasp at time, and try to "hang on" to moments of passing pleasure; so are the good things of life all that much sweeter to youngsters who have only begun to discover their own futures.
   Is it any wonder a disillusioned, evolutionized, disabsolutized, unpolarized, disenchanted, partly educated youngster revolts?
   Someone once said, "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing."
   Is this what the universities are handing out?
   Appraise it for yourself.
   What do you read in the papers about today's educational institutions?
   If you read America's leading papers you read of sexual revolution, dorm rooms with posted 30-minute use schedules, dropouts, student demands, riots, occupation of administration offices, and probably demands for the resignation of the chancellor.
   Somewhere, somehow our schools have also failed our youth.
   Millions of parents sigh with relief when their kiddies first troop off to school with shining faces and well-polished apples. They hope that somehow, magically, teacher will accomplish what they don't know how to do.
   Years later, when the big son with pimples and long hair demands the keys to the car, Dad realizes the school hasn't been able to do what Dad didn't know how to do and that his son doesn't especially sing the teaching system's praises, either.
   Again the statistics are almost endless.
   Colleges in revolution; universities in revolt. It seems many countries must live in virtual terror of the news of yet another riot on their 50,000 plus university campus.
   Can anyone deny that the school has FAILED as a traditional teacher of moral standards, high cultural aspirations, and the true mores of law, chastity, obedience, honesty, integrity; love of home, country, and God?

The Church

   Trying to appraise the real meaning of the "church" as a traditional guardian of right moral conduct and true social values is one of the most difficult of all.
   It's difficult first, because almost no one fights like churches do.
   Any young collegiate has learned that most major butcheries, bludgeonings, shootings, stabbings and other inhumane deaths administered to hapless humans have either been at the direct behest of, or have received the special blessing of religion.
   Churches today seem bent on two extremes (and haven't they always?) Those are: Either: They seem to be so totally involved and "related" to the hugely emotional social issues that clerics, bishops, priests and others of the "frocked" among us are seen marching at the head of dissident groups; meeting angry cops at the front door of the church where alleged draft-card burners are hiding out, or appearing angrily on television to condemn their own overseers.
   Or: So formally and dismally out of touch with modern-day twentieth century problems as to appear an island in a passing flood untouched, imperturbable, forever dry.
   To most youngsters, the prayers, memorized verses, "little old ladies in green felt hats" version of youthful religion was remembered in the same moment as castor oil, father's belt, and 3:00 p.m., on a dismal, rainy day in a dull class.
   It was something to be endured, tolerated, and wondered at never something they really understood, were challenged by, or profited from.
   And what, pray tell, could ancients wearing long robes and white beards ever HOPE to give them about how to live in Detroit's tenements, or Bedford Stuyvesant's brownstones? What could a balding man over 50 who whistled his "s's" and sung his talk hope to tell a hot-faced little fifteen-year-old when his special girl had handed him a note after school on Friday?
   Oh, they try.
   Like the youngish cleric who, for reasons only known to himself, told a group of girl parishioners "Sex is fun. Not only is sex fun it is also funny... This means there are no laws attached to sex. I repeat," he said, "ABSOLUTELY NO LAWS."
   "We ought to relax and stop feeling guilty about our sexual activities" he intoned. "And I mean this, whether those thoughts are heterosexual, homosexual, or autosexual."
   "The good news of the Gospel which has been delivered to me," he continued, "is that we have been freed from... evaluative codes of behavior freed to act responsibly according to a higher law. If you will, this is the law of love..."
   The girls didn't seem especially shocked.
   They'd been reared in homes. They'd been to school. It was just that they didn't expect such libertine notions from a pulpit. Especially in an all-girls' school, and from a youngish minister.
   Have the churches really failed the youth?
   Only part of them?
   Then why are so MANY of them yes, SO MANY, so completely disillusioned and disgusted with today's religions? Why are so many EXPERIMENTING in religion? Why are so many looking to oriental customs, yoga, LSD, or their own new kind of teen-nationalism for true religious fulfillment?
   No defend them though some will, the churches of this world and this age have failed a whole youthful generation.
   Today's youth has been lied to, and lied about. It has been given the double-standard and the "do as I say, don't do as I do" formula too long.
   It has been allowed to look behind the parent's teaching; into the teacher's text; and into the preacher's notebook.
   And in all this modern education, there were some hard, brutal shocks.
   Today's youth has found it lives in a world filled with tigers. And its answer is a snarl.

Do Two Wrongs Make a Right?

   Like many a cynic, millions of youths have seen much of what's wrong with the world: wrong with their elders, their schools, and their churches.
   The only remaining trouble is; they don't seem to know what can be right about it.
   Without realizing it, millions of them are clinging to the same notion that divided their own parents; frustrated their own teachers, and led their own pastors to prate about sexual aberrations.
   They're beginning to believe someone else's sins justify their own.
   They think two wrongs make a right.
   They imagine sin plus sin equals no sin that an evil deed deserves another that futility deserves resignation; and hopelessness deserves no hope.
   And they're wrong.
   There is an answer for today's youths.
   There is a future a glittering, glamorous, fantastic future ALIVE with promise, excitement, challenge, discovery love. It's a future the traditional teachers of this present world not only do not KNOW about, but have RESENTED when they DID hear. It's a future their schools, their parents, and their churches have largely REJECTED!
   And it's the only future there is.
   If you're one of America's more than fifty percent who is under 21 or wherever you live, and whatever your age, and you want a preview into the most breathtaking future that could ever be imagined, then you need to read the free booklet we have waiting for you about The Wonderful World Tomorrow - What It Will Be Like.
   If you're resigned to defeat don't bother.
   If you're the kind of person who always REJECTS anything truly NEW, and DIFFERENT, then forget it. But if you're not afraid to look into something you've never SEEN before, then write for it, quickly before you forget.
   Your future doesn't probably depend on it. It does!

Back To Top

Plain Truth MagazineNovember 1968Vol XXXIII, No.11
|  Fundamental Doctrines of the Church of God  |  Comments or Suggestions?  |  FAQ  |   Holy Day Information   |   Site Map   |   Donations   |
|  Sabbath & Holy Day Services   |   Weekly Bible Study Services   |   Video Groups   |
Follow Us: HWALibrary - Mobile Site
Copyright © 2016 Herbert W Armstrong Library
Important Notice

Please Note:

The address and phone number for the Worldwide Church of God given for material are no longer valid for obtaining the material offered in booklets, magazines, telecast and radio broadcast.

HWALibrary.com has all material offered on this site 100% free. You do not need to call or mail your requests, simply do a search for the material offered on our site.

The Worldwide Church of God dissolved after Mr. Armstrong's death in January 1986.

Visit our FAQ page for instructions on downloading audio and video files.

Sabbath Services

Sabbath Services:

Hello, and welcome to our Sabbath and Holy Day service tab. The services provided are selected from the recorded library of this website HWALibrary.com.

Services are posted every Sabbath or Holy Day. Our service consists of 3 hymns, a Sermonette, a hymn, the Sermon and a final hymn.

Continue to the Sabbath Service page.

Bible Study Services

Bible Study:

Hello, and welcome to our Bible Study service tab. The services provided are selected from the recorded library of this website HWALibrary.com.

Bible Study services are posted each Wednesday. Our service consists of an opening hymn, a Bible Study and a final hymn.

Continue to the Bible Study Service page.