Today's Young People - What They Ought to Learn from Their Parents
Eugene M Walter & Rodney L Beemer
What do young people need to learn from Dad and Mom? How does this square with what they are being taught?
THE generation gap is one of the grim realities of our time. Well over one half of the world's population is under twenty-one. And today much of this youthful segment of society is in revolt. Why in revolt? Because our young people today feel betrayed by the three traditional character-molding and life-shaping institutions of society: the home, the school and the church. But especially, it seems, they feel betrayed by the home. And in all too many cases, with good reason! The home is the world's first authority, the world's first comfort, the world's first protection, provision, security and warmth to every young child — regardless of race, color or nationality. Yet in a worldwide sense, the home is fast disappearing as the traditional bulwark for standards of conduct.
What Young People AREN'T Being Taught
Now look at the results of a recent statistical survey taken of 200 college students. These students came from all across the U.S., and on the whole, were above average in scholastic ability. As a whole, the moral and character training they received at home was probably also considerably above the national average. But look at what they were taught — or better said, not taught — by their parents: — A shocking 91 percent said their parents had not given them any instruction whatsoever about dating! — 74 percent admitted that their initial knowledge about sex was received from obscene sources, from friends their own age, or "on their own" in some other way. And 43 percent said they were not given any instruction whatsoever by their parents on this subject. — Only 14 percent said they had first learned about sex from their parents and then received instruction from them. Could these conditions — multiplied millions of times — just possibly have something to do with the skyrocketing statistics about illegitimate babies, venereal disease, teenage marriages, and divorce? — In the area of personal and cultural habits, 82 percent said they had received little or no instruction or warning about drinking, smoking, using drugs and attending movies. 87 percent lamented the fact that their parents had given them only limited instruction about cultural things. 78 percent said their parents did not even bother to teach them the basic essentials of the social graces! — And personality training? Only 10 percent said their parents had given them some really good and helpful advice and instruction about their personality. Do you think these figures might just possibly indicate why so many of our youth are deliberately careless with their dress, appearance, personal habits and manners? — In matters of finance, 83 percent of the 200 students said their parents gave them no instruction whatsoever about the use of money. Many of these same parents would give their children just about anything they would ask for. Yet they did not think enough of their children to sit down and teach them the proper use of money — 51 percent of the students surveyed said their parents gave them little or no instruction about how to work. When multiplied to the national level, could there be any relation between this lack of training and the fact that it is so difficult to find responsible help today — even for the most simple tasks — 77 percent said their parents gave them no instruction whatsoever in evaluating current events or world affairs. Apparently it was assumed the children were getting this information at school. But what kind of student and citizen do you think someone with this kind of training — or rather lack of it — will make? Look around you. The answer is all too obvious. These shocking facts were not given by cynical students in a spirit of protest and rebellion. Most — if not all — of the students in this particular survey sincerely and deeply loved their parents and were seeking to respect them to the best of their ability. They were deeply appreciative for the things their parents had taught them. But they were also honestly reporting the appalling gaps and shortcomings in the training they had received at home. And why had their parents taught them so little? In part, it was probably because their parents had been taught so little by their parents. This does not alter the fact, however, that it didn't — and doesn't — need to be this way. Probably most of these parents think they instructed their children much better than they actually have.
What Students Wished They Had Been Taught
Now let's look at the problem in a somewhat different light. What do today's young people feel are the most important things which their parents could have taught them? The same 200 college students answered this question. Their answers took into consideration the fact that what they should have been taught was not necessarily what they would have wanted to be taught, or what they would have felt was important at the time. They were acknowledging with hindsight what their parents should have been able to see and apply with foresight. As if with one voice, they placed at the top of the list as the most helpful information they could have received, a knowledge of right dating and instruction about the proper use of sex. Next followed a desire for instruction and guidance in the development of a pleasing personality. The third most useful area of instruction was that of character development and self-discipline. This was followed by a desire for social wisdom and culture. How to work and shoulder responsibility was listed as the fifth most valuable bit of training which these young people felt their parents could have taught them. The ability to communicate with others, respect for authority, balance, etc. were other points which were listed, though less frequently. Most of these additional points were related to the five major areas which have just been named. These aspects of life which these students felt to be so vital to their happiness, well-being and success — and which are too often missing in higher education — have for years been taught as an integral part of the Ambassador College educational program. But what a tragedy that young people should have to go to college to begin to learn basic principles which they should have been taught at home! And what a tragedy that these vital principles are so generally lacking in college education. In fact, few — if any — colleges other than the three Ambassador College campuses offer full training in all of these critically important areas. And what does all this have to do with you? A great deal. You can have access to the same information which the Ambassador College students are receiving — and you don't need to be enrolled as a full-time student to get it. Ambassador College sponsors a worldwide in-the-home educational service that makes these same vital principles of success and happiness available to you absolutely free of charge. If you are a young person, write today for our attractively illustrated free booklet on Modern Dating as a starter. And if you are a parent, there is the specially helpful book God Speaks Out on the New Morality. It, too, is free, but anyone requesting it must state that he or she is 21 or over, or, if under 21, is engaged to be married in the immediate future. Begin now to learn the secrets of successful living.