I know it’s a week late for this, but since my job isn’t a beat reporter, you can bet my current affairs will always be a day late, which is in keeping with me, because I’m always a dollar short! I’m enjoying the idea of an extra day off with our inclement weather, yet as it sits right now, the inclement weather has hit every area except Washington County. Just the idea of it is giving me a possible false sense of a few extra hours to play with, so play I will!
Playing for me is to write a blog post that’s been on my mind since last Sunday. The Super Bowl upset that I’m referring to has nothing to do with the outcome of the Patriots / Rams game on February 3rd. I had such a great time at my friends’ house eating good food, catching up, and enjoying a defensive game. While many people thought it was boring, I was engaged with anticipation of which defense was going to break down and allow the other team to score. Since Bradley plays defense, I appreciate that perspective of a game and I was thoroughly entertained.
But what did disappoint me was the halftime show. Adam Levine was fine. I wish he would smile because he’s so much cuter when he does. His gyrating distracted me. I enjoy his personality on The Voice, but I didn’t find the same sense of satisfaction in his Super Bowl performance as I do watching him banter with Blake Shelton about The Voice contestants.
The Super Bowl upset was this: the halftime show’s second performer. I’m going to expose my ignorance by admitting I don’t even know who he was. I know he’s a big deal because he performed at the Super Bowl. I’m out of the loop with pop culture. I’m not even going to look up who the performer was. I don’t care about tearing him down, and this post is about more than this performer. My disappointment is in the people who are in a position of decision making. I was so frustrated that the second half time performer sang a song that required many of his phrases to be bleeped out. I don’t get it. I feel like sports is the one arena that should be sacred. That anyone should be able to take their child to a sporting event and trust that it’s family friendly, absent of anything that would require us to plug our kids’ ears or explain anything other than why the Patriots took so long to score and the significance of a young coach and quarterback getting to play in the Super Bowl.
We have ratings on movies and we sensor our books. The drinking age and ability to buy cigarettes in Oregon is 21. We separate state and church so extremely that we’re not allowed to use the word Christmas in any portion of our holiday celebrations at school. Yet the Super Bowl that received 98,000,000 views smacks us with a performance that uses lyrics that are so offensive they have to be bleeped out. I’m sorry for the people who were present at the Super Bowl and forced to hear the lyrics.
We put laws and policies into place, in an effort to protect our kids, but where is our heart for our kids? Where is our sacrifice for them? There is a theory called PAC – Perceived Adult Consent. This theory was discussed as part of the Discovery Program class that I was privileged to participate in as part of my school’s strategy to help our students. PAC makes so much sense to me. It means that consent is perceived by students (or youth) when adults observe a behavior that has been deemed unacceptable, and look the other way instead of confronting it. PAC subtly gives our youth the message that even though we say something is not okay and even though we say something is important, we are not going to go the extra mile to enforce it. What they might experience is that we care, but we don’t care that much. Or they might just think we’re authoritarian, like rules, and don’t care at all.
I’ve seen PAC happen a million times, every day. It happens in our community, within families, on social media, at school: everywhere.
I understand that addressing issues takes time and energy that we don’t always have. I understand it’s easier to make our kids’ bed than it is to teach them, and it’s easier to pretend we didn’t hear the name they called us, than deal with a consequence we have to enforce. But what gets me is that people ask:
What is happening to our youth?
What is happening to the fabric of our culture?
Why are our kids so depressed, anxious, and volatile?
Why are our kids so disrespectful?
Why are our kids facing more mental and social issues than ever before?
I feel like the answer lies with us. We are what’s wrong. Who looked the other way when it was decided to use this performer at the biggest sporting event in our country? Was there a discussion? Was there an argument? Did someone advocate for our kids and consider the message this performer infuses into our culture? It is one thing for someone to access this performer on the Internet or at a concert. But we were subjected to this performance.
Don’t we all really just want to feel good? We are daily bombarded with things that don’t feel good and are out of our control. When it is in our control, why don’t we embrace that opportunity? Like Ellen does (yea, Cheerios!), or Jeep does?
Jeep opted not to spend the money on a Super Bowl ad they’ve spent in the past and instead post their ad on the Internet. Their ad was created with the same level of quality that we would expect from a Super Bowl ad, and it was beautiful. The ad makes one feel good!
Why wouldn’t the producers of the Super Bowl reach for that goal? Thank you, Jeep for knowing we want to feel good. I can think of many performers who make us feel good and don’t require bleeping. Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, to name a few. There are many more. I think Gladys Knight’s National Anthem made us all feel good!
At this time there is so much effort in both time, money, and mental strategy to understand what is happening to our kids. Educators attend symposiums in an effort to decipher emotional, social, behavioral, and mental health. Counselors spend entire days sorting through emotions so they can get students to a place where they can focus and learn. New methods for managing our students are introduced. We ask: Where are things going wrong? What can we do for them? What system can we put into place to meet their needs? More money is required within education than ever before for resources and providers. And we are paying the price.
To me, all of our efforts seem fruitless if we don’t identify the root cause, which I believe is this:
There is a lot of Perceived Adult Consent that takes place in the lives of our youth every day.
Our expectations of our kids and each other are low. We look the other way when we see courtesy abandoned. Our kids don’t think it’s important, and why would they? Our politicians hurl insults at each other and we cheer them on. We retaliate on social media with snarky replies to and at each other. And we condone profanity and obscene lyrics in a public display.
The other day I saw a post that seemed so ridiculous I laughed out loud, TO MYSELF! I didn’t post it and call her an idiot. I later shared it with a friend and we had a good laugh. But we chuckled at her style. We didn’t devalue this person by slamming her publicly.
Even at that, as a Christian with a desire to esteem people and not devalue them, whether in public or privately, I had to check myself. I understand the temptations. But if we want to make a difference for our youth and each other, we have to overcome temptations. We have to sacrifice time and our own entertainment. We have to be uncomfortable. For some it might mean working harder at being our better selves. For me, it’s seeking to be the new creature that I am in Christ Jesus, which is easy to do when I talk with him and read his words of encouragement.
If our kids are our tomorrow; we are their today.
I know our world isn’t perfect. Jesus told us that we would have trouble in this world, and to take heart, because he came to overcome the world. But his love for children is great.
He said in Matthew 18: “At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
Jesus invited a little child to stand among them. “Truly I tell you,” He said, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name welcomes Me.
But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
Our responsibility for children is monumental.