One of the things I often marvel at is that a good number of young people are more socially conservative than their parents.
I am in the last five years of the Baby Boom generation, perhaps the most selfish, immature, egotistical and rebellious generation that has ever lived in this country. The rebellion reached full flower in 1968, a terrible year not only of assassinations, but also of open sexual misconduct, the celebration of rebellion, of immature disrespect of authority and tradition, and a large percentage of people stoned out of their mind.
Now, this generation (my generation) at some point had to take a bath (after wallowing in the mud of Woodstock), take the flowers of out its hair, put on a suit and go to work. But a lot of the selfish, egotistical and iconoclastic tendencies remained with this spoiled generation as they (we) ushered in abortion on demand, no fault divorce, cohabitation, low birthrates, widespread pornography, and numerous other social ills that amount to a general shredding of the family and a coherent and functional culture.
To some degree, the next generation will react to the reaction, rebel against the rebellion. And at least to some extent I have seen it. A lot of the younger people I have met and am preparing for marriage or see at theology on tap sessions, or meet over at the seminary and in novitiate for the Order in my parish , are re-embracing the tradition their parents and grandparents so carelessly cast aside. Further, these younger people see what a disaster the lives of their parents and grandparents have been with failed marriages, addictions, STDs, and many other ills.
At some level, disgusted by what they see, they are resolved to be more careful to avoid their parents mistakes. The knee-jerk rebelliousness of the boomers seems far less evident in their grandchildren whom I find more reasonable, teachable and even hungry for the truth.
I don’t know how widespread the phenomenon I describe is, and I suspect that the overall numbers in our culture are still headed in the wrong direction. The whole gay union thing is emblematic of that. Nevertheless there is a growing core, perhaps a remnant, of younger people who are picking up the pieces of things their boomer parents shattered and reconsidering once discarded treasures.
I pray only that it will grow and that increasing numbers of younger people will simply shake their heads in dismay at the foolishness of the Boomer generation and work explicitly to restore maturity, accountability and a love for the good, true and beautiful.
The following video is a humorous illustration of how, in order to rebel against the status quo involves another rebellion that, in effect, is a shift back to the status quo ante. What this video illustrates in a small and humorous matter is what I hope will be the case in bigger matters.