I was born in early 1949 which makes me part of the Baby Boomer generation. Yes, we were the ones who wallowed in free-love and various drugs all the while revolting against anything and everything which society and our parents told us we needed to comply. We were convinced that WE knew better and there had never been a generation so knowledgeable and daring! A fresh news poll asked college-aged people to rate themselves and for the first time the results showed the participants had a far too rosy view of themselves, their abilities and their place in the world! In short they seemed to feel they were who the world has been eagerly awaiting all of these eons! This mistaken perception of kids who could be my grandchildren (were I not a monk) I blame on my generation!
There is a cartoon on my bulletin board which shows a dog chained to his doghouse and baying at the moon. In the foreground are two cats, one of whom is saying to the other, “How come the most ignorant among us are always the loudest?” This year I turned 64 and now I can appreciate both the humor and the sadness of this observation! Oscar Wilde once said, “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” Humorous but also terrifyingly true! Such a narcissistic worldview separates us from the welfare of others and in the end leaves us isolated and without a clue as to how we got there! Shame on those of us who have taught this to these kids!
We have raised children who in many instances were left to decide for themselves whether or not they worship the Divine, to obey society’s rules-of-the-road, or even wait to eat supper until the whole family gets home! Our self-centered children have produced self-centered children thinking they are the center of the universe, as the recent poll so clearly portrays. I have to wonder if we horrified our parents as deeply as this bothers me?