There is a billboard on Richlands Highway as you enter Jacksonville for a motel on Rt. 17. The ad’s byline, its draw, is that they offer free internet during your stay. The problem with the billboard is the wording. It says “Free wireless WiFi!”
Here ’s the problem.
noun: WiFi; noun: wifi
a facility allowing computers, smartphones, or other devices to connect to the Internet or communicate with one another wirelessly within a particular area.
WiFi is wireless by definition. Now some may accuse me of being a grammar nazi, and sometimes I am. But I think this betrays a sad fact that older generations refuse to engage and understand younger generations. We don’t take the time to learn enough to effectively communicate to someone younger than us. Its been said that any technology that existed when you were born is natural and was always a part of your world. Any technology created after your 15 is exciting, new and must be explored. Any technology created after your 40 is demonic and must never be touched!
In the church we shoot our wounded, we all know that. But we also shoot our young. They grew up in a radically different world than you did. And you will never draw them back to your world except that they enjoy it as a “retro” experience.
I turn 50 in two months. I am officially an older person. You want proof? My first morning full time here in Jacksonville I went to Dunkin Donuts for a coffee. I ordered a large black (because they always put too much cream in) and the young lady, without looking at me said, “That’ll be $1.84…” then she looks up at me, looked back down at her register, hit a few buttons, and said, “That’ll be $1.39 sir.” I got the Senior Coffee. So I am old to the majority of those I meet.
We from previous generations MUST do all we can to understand, engage, and even enter into the culture of our youth. Look, I will never get a Hipster haircut (That’d look silly with my bald spot) or wear skinny jeans, or order a half-caf skinny soy latte. But I can learn what my kids are doing, I can educate myself on their culture, their language, their music, their technology and their worldview. It makes me more accessible to them. They will be more willing to listen to me dispense wisdom if I can speak their language.
We have to quit trying to make our youth live like we did. They never will. Instead lets understand them and help them craft a Christian worldview within the culture they were birthed.