Kids These Days

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 I know that a kid is a baby goat, but the Urban Dictionary also says that a kid is what teenagers claim they are not. And the same uncertain source says that kids are any offspring of any age. When I say kids I’m talking about teenagers and twenty somethings and millennials and college coeds that, by-in-large, haven’t grown up or shown up or come up with what to say or how to contribute in a meaningful way. Without objection, we will go with this definition which is what you and I know a kid to be.

So, kids these days . . .

Kids these days aren’t like the kids of yesteryear. Kids these days aren’t like the kids I played with when I was growing up. Kids these days are self-centered and self-interested; they’re all about “me” and “my” and what happens to them without regard to history or antiquity or much anything else outside of their personal space.

Yes Kentucky lost. They lost because they lost it. And they lost it down the stretch. The kids on Kentucky didn’t have the stamina or the resilience or the fortitude to hold on and hold up and and hold down the fort when it counted. Kentucky, chock full of “kids” — a.k.a, freshman phenoms — couldn’t hold it together or hold out to the end against Wisconsin. Yes they beat Notre Dame, but Wisconsin was different. It appeared to me that in the Wisconsin game, Kentucky expected the opposition to just lay down and give them the game just because they were Kentucky. The Kentucky kids expected to win because they were undefeated and because they were destined to go 40-0 and because things were supposed to go their way . . . just because.

And so the question of the season has been asked and answered. Kentucky’s undefeated, unblemished and untarnished season is no more. It’s OVER. They finished 38-1, with the lone loss coming at the hands of Wisconsin in the Final Four. And it was a game that Kentucky could have won. Tied at 60 with about 3 minutes to go, the wannabe, would-be Wildcats wilted under waves of Wisconsin wear and tear. For their part, Wisconsin weathered and withstood the wall of seven foot tall ballers that really didn’t try hard enough to score in the paint.

Kentucky crumbled during crunch time and stumbled down the stretch. They flubbed and faltered, froze and fumbled away a game that was theirs to win. They looked lost and leery, appeared baffled and bleary, and played no way near like they were the top team of the Tournament.

And so the answer and the reason we don’t want freshman to jump to the NBA after one year is played out yet again. I submit that “One and Dones” aren’t mature enough or secure enough or for sure enough to win tough tight games when the stakes are high and the margin for error is low.  To say that the Kentucky kids were poor sports and sore losers would be an understatement.

Kids these days think they’re entitled to win and to succeed and to go undefeated, just because. Kids these days think they should have a high paying job and the key to a corner office, “just because.” Kids these days think that they are supposed to be indomitable and invincible and unconquerable all at the same time. Not so. There’s such a thing as “paying dues” before you cash in.

My Dad’s generation believed in work. Hard work. And they had a work ethic. They worked hard for everything they got and fought for everything they had and I believe they appreciated it more. I believe that’s a part of God’s Playbook. Kids these days want everything handed to them on a silver platter. Am I right? Of course I’m right. Now if you’re one of those millennials that I’m writing about, you probably disagree, (if you’re still reading) but if you take a minute to measure your standards and your values and your ethics and your morals against, say, Depression Era Die Hards or Bursting Baby Boomers, you will agree that there are distinct differences and clear-cut contrasts between the generations.

But that’s a bigger discussion for another day. I just hope that I passed some of my Dad’s work ethic on to my two millennial sons, and by the looks of what and who they are, I think I did. For now, if the Kentucky kids represent kids these days, then we’re all in for a rude awakening if we symbolically and figuratively hope to win big games or have unbeaten streaks or even have undefeated or unblemished “seasons” in the next generation.

Too Good To Go

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DeSean Jackson is good but did he have to go? According to NFL.com, the Philadelphia Eagles announced Friday that DeSean Jackson was informed of his release. He wasn’t traded and we got nothing for him; he was just let go. It’s a sad day for Eagles Nation (pronounced Iggles everywhere and to everyone who loves things Philly).

Our best and our brashiest, our fleetest and our flashiest receiver is gone. Say what you want about him off the field (well get to that later), but on the field he was a fan favorite. And this is coming during an offseason where we are planning for a deep run in next year’s postseason.

Jackson is good. His talent and his tenacity earned him respect from friends and foes alike. His stats are impressive: he just had his best year as an Eagle and he will finish his six-year Eagles career with 356 receptions, 6,117 yards and 39 total touchdowns. He had grit and he could take a hit.

Jackson is good, but sadly, they let him go. Performance on the field is one thing; behavior off the field is another. Players must realize that what goes on off the field bleeds back onto the field. NFL.com reports that “the end of the Jackson saga comes in the wake of a Friday morning NJ.com report claiming the Eagles have ‘serious concerns’ about the wide receiver’s continued association with reputed Los Angeles street gang members tied to a pair of homicides.” The same NFL report also “questions Jackson’s attitude, work ethic, chemistry with coach Chip Kelly and penchant for missing team meetings to hang out with friends.”[1]

And so we must realize that evil corrupts everything it touches. I’m not accusing DeSean of anything; I’m just sayin’. Whoever he was hangin’ with, and whoever he was rollin’ with, they weren’t good for him to be with. Not for where he was going. He had so much promise and so much potential that he should have protected the perception people have of him. Sadly, it does not appear that the Eagles had the will or the wherewithal to work and wax and polish and finish the brilliance that Jackson has. And for his part, Jackson didn’t care enough either, and it cost him. Just like Lot.

Lot chose to pitch his tent toward Sodom. Lot lived and breathed the low life of the low end of the food chain and it corrupted his life and corrupted his wife to the point she loved evil more than good. She turned to look back and turned into a pillar of salt. “And (God) delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked” (2 Peter 2:7). Lot didn’t protect his family so the Lord had to provoke him to leave that wicked and wonton place before He destroyed it.

So we must learn the lessons of Lot and of DeSean. Don’t let your good be evil spoken of. Don’t be good on the field and ghastly off the field. Don’t be great in uniform and grisly in plain clothes. Be good on and off of the field. Protect your reputation and your disposition. Let your makeup and your moral fiber be above reproach. If you are good inside and out, in and off-season, on the upside and on the downswing, you won’t have to be let go.

 

[1] http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000337774/article/desean-jackson-released-by-philadelphia-eagles

 

Work Ethic: A Family Affair

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God worked.  He worked for six days, creating the heavens and the earth, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea and the beasts of the field.  God worked diligently and deliberately. God worked efficiently and effectively and he expects us to do the same. God worked and I believe God worked hard and He worked smart. If He could, God would have come early and stayed late.  God would have worked overtime if He had to, to get the job, or “get ‘er” done. Yes God finished the work he had been doing and rested on the seventh day, but for six days, He worked.

Adam worked.  God made man to work.   “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15).  Adam worked hard and he worked smart.  He was responsible for all of the animals and the tilling of the ground. Adam had and developed a work ethic.

Work ethic is a value based on hard work and diligence. It is also a belief in the moral benefit of work and its ability to enhance character. A work ethic includes being reliable, having initiative, and pursuing goals and new skills. Players and workers exhibiting a good work ethic in theory should be selected for better positions, more responsibility and ultimately promotion.

Rahab worked. She had faith, but was also  justified by her works. “Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?” (James 2:25).   James goes on to say that “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (v. 17). Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” 

The Williams sisters have a solid work ethic.  A solid  work ethic has led Serena Williams to win an astonishing seventeen-time Grand Slam titles. The older Venus is a seven-time Grand Slam title winner.

The Williams sisters have worked for the honors they have achieved. Both sisters have had the honor of being ranked by the Women’s Tennis Association at the World No. 1 position. In 2002, after the French Open, Venus Williams and Serena Williams were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 respectively. During the 2010 French Open, they became the co-world no.1 players in women’s doubles, in addition to holding the top two positions in singles tennis as well.

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Because God worked, and Adam worked, and Rahab and all of the other mighty men and women of faith worked, we are to work as well.  “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26).  And here is the kicker: “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? (v. 20).

So work hard and work smart. Pray. Fast. Fast and pray. Study the Word of God. Work at it.  Be diligent and deliberate, not haphazard and higgledy-piggledy; be efficient and effective, not jumbled and mumbled. Your spiritual hard work will pay off. And you will be able to “rest” from your labor, AFTER you work.  When we die to our selfish and sinful ways, our “death” will result in new life. Dying in the Lord is both natural and spiritual.  Resting is both natural and spiritual as well.

“Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them’ (Revelation 14:13).