How to address the younger generation in this area, thru this venue?
I am noticing a lot (maybe more than I notice) of activity some are labeling as “troll” or “sock puppet” (what imagery 🙂 ). I know many of us that frequent here have a few gray hairs here and there, maybe more here than there….but anyway, we are often well aged. Maybe even stinky like fine aged cheese 🙂 I know I have a difficult time communicating with my college age kids sometimes, or at least when I overhear some of their conversation amongst each other and friends I have to listen very carefully and ask what sounds like stupid questions – and my children are highly intelligent and well educated if I do say so myself. But their growing up within the social media era and with computers and computer language has created a gap of sorts.
My point is this – as more and more of these type get married and likely go to their GOTO source for information – the internet – they may find this site. And then they will open their mouths, or keyboards if you will, and actually say something. It may be in such a way that we old cheesers may not see as sincere. But it may just be the way they have grown used to communicating. I can’t even generate an example to share, but those with kids 15-25 know what I’m talking about. How can we sufficiently guide them without alienating them?
You could be right, there definitely is a communication gap in much of the younger generation, where their main communication is via text or “[a limited number of] characters or less”. And we ought to keep this in mind. In regards to suspicious users, I stated this elsewhere, and I will put it here as well:
I think we need to be a little more gracious and not throw accusation around until there’s a little more evidence that confirms a suspicion. Otherwise, damage could be done towards the benefit and help an individual could give and get from here, to TMB’s name, and to the name of “Christians”. Trust me, I am all for calling out the “false”, but let us be sure there is “false” before action is taken.
Again, let’s be gracious, and let us be wise and use discernment. If we believe everyone is here with innocent motives, we aren’t being wise. If we immediately accuse someone because of an initial act of suspicion, we aren’t being gracious.
Although I am not in the age group you’ve mentioned, I have found myself to be a part of the “younger” crowd on TMB. I originally found TMB as a newlywed who wanted a safe, Christ-honoring way to look at marriage and sex. I remember googling “Christian married sex” because I had so many questions that I didn’t feel comfortable asking people I knew IRL (about 8 years ago!). I learned so much from SeekingChange, SeekingPerspective, JobMan, OldMarriedWoman, 2Pack, Leah, SimpleC, and many others! As I’ve been in my current situation, I appreciate the fact that people haven’t catered to my age on here. It’s usually obvious who is here for real Christian wisdom and interaction to improve their marriages. If a person truly wants to help their marital relationship/marriage bed in a way that honors God, it doesn’t matter if you have the trendy words. God’s Word is living and breathing and that translates to every generation.
To address the possible trolls on this site… I’m going to agree with SeekingChange. Many people wanted to write off my posts because my situation is so unimaginably horrifying and my writing is probably not the greatest. It’s always best to be on the side of grace. That’s the example Christ set for us multiple times.
We can also remind ourselves (as I must often do) that the Holy Spirit is active and powerful and purposeful in all of our interactions. I try to give a sincere answer that reflects my experience and understanding while also honoring God. (Don’t examine all my responses to check; I’m certain I have not always succeeded!) But when that is my heart, I believe I can trust Him to speak to the poster regardless of his/her original intentions. My initial feeling about being trolled is defensiveness; I don’t like to feel that someone is pulling one over on me and laughing at me, especially when I am making myself so very vulnerable, as I have here. But on reflection, I strongly believe that they must have found their way here for a reason, perhaps even drawn by the Holy Spirit unbeknownst to themselves. Regardless, I know I can trust Him to protect what is His and I try to remember to specifically pray that evil will be thwarted on this forum and that the evil one will find no purchase here. It’s what I used to pray every day as I dropped my DD off to (public) school and I believe with all my heart that her school was always protected by a multitude of Heavenly warriors.
Certainly we must address posts that truly seem meant to cause damage to the ministry here; sometimes I simply don’t answer one that seems out of place. (Though that’s not always why I skip a question!) But after more in-depth posting from some who were initially thought to be insincere proved otherwise, I’m realizing I, for one, need to be slower to judge and trust the Holy Spirit to bind and prevent any intended harm to what is after all, a gathering of HIS people and discussion of HIS plan and often, HIS word.
Two things to consider when evaluating posts like we’ve seen today:
1. Is there an actual question?
2. Is it explicit for titillation purposes?
I know on the old forum, we were not to use the T word (maybe because it’s used by them to find forums?) The phrase was, ‘Please Don’t Feed the Trolls.’ That includes calling them out and discussing them ( and yes, I realize I’m doing that here).
It’s best to just ignore and use the Report button. Without interaction, they will go away.
Yes, at times it can be a challenge to know if someone is genuine either in asking a question or offering a response. I have in the past received a PM from some with what appears to be a legitimate question regarding a post I made. I try to give the benefit of the doubt and respond as SC indicated, with a measure of graciousness. In a couple of instances I responded by asking a follow up question that in turn received no reply. It’s then that some red flags start to unfurl. It certainly can be a challenge to communicate, but as Rescued indicated where God and His Word are concerned, that transcends generations. I sure hope the younger generation can learn from us “older” on the forum, but I also hope I am not so set in my ways that I can’t learn from them as well. We all have a lot to share that is of benefit. So I try to let my words be gracious and seasoned with salt to know how to give an answer.
Perhaps one of the problems I foresee happening more and more is how does one counteract the social media, narcissistic, “look at me”, porn influenced culture that such a large portion of children are growing up in? I know narcissism and validation seeking is not new. And I know there “is nothing new under the sun.” I agree with that in the deep, human nature kind of way. But Soloman did not have to deal with kids that live on Instagram likes with split-second gratification. The internal desires have not changed, the external forces and sources have, and I believe the impacts have as well.
So these kids go into matrimony with a whole different set of standards and expectations, and a totally different communication style. Heck, I’ve even been subject to it and I know there are many around here who have when I read (and have done it) about a husband texts his wife – in the other room no less – that he is feeling like some sex. Yeah, it seems innocent and maybe even a little convenient, but think about it further. It can also represent a disconnection of inner emotional depth and meaning.
I’ll give an example – one that is harsh. I recently had an older friend pass away quite probably from corona virus complications. Not your common symptoms, but some that are associated with it in some limited cases. He was texting his doctor his symptoms – diarrhea, to severe diarrhea, extreme weight loss over a short period (attributable to the water loss I’m sure) fatigue and a slight fever. Doctor played it off, told him to get tested (positive result came back the day after he died) and stay home and rest. Seven days after first symptoms he passes away in his sleep. Doctor says it’s probably because of the dehydration causing a stroke or HA. WOW. Totally avoidable. But he never actually called and spoke with the doctor. He was “just texting”, so it must not have been that serious, right? The day before he died he was told to “get off that text and call the doctor and insist on some help!” It was too late. Now – I’m not blaming it on texting per se, but we all know that a text is not received the same as a call, and even less than a actual FTF.
Texting is how the kids of these days communicate. Cold, impersonal, risk free. Doesn’t that sound romantic?
I watched a movie recently, cant remember the name, but it was about a black piano virtuoso and the white Italian “good fella” that he hired to escort him on a tour down south during the 60’s. It was based on a true story. You can ascertain the likely storyline. But what was also a hidden gem was how this well educated piano player helped this uneducated “muscle” write these romantic letters home to his wife and the impact they had on her, and her friends. Even when she knew they were being “ghost written”, she still appreciated them. Why? Because of the depth of what they said and the effort they took and what they represented. THAT is what I think is, or has been lost on our younger generation. Will they find their way without it? I don’t know. They may find something to replace it. But the fact is those kind of things have been holding society and marriages together for centuries. You may not have a romantic husband – but wouldn’t you like a little – real romance? Sure – because it proves something to you. A text just proves he wants some @$$. You may not have a romantic wife – but wouldn’t you enjoy some special treatment? Sure – because it proves something to you. A duty quikie just proves she’s willing to put up with you to keep getting the rent paid. (I know those are hyperbolic examples and nuanced to prove a point – but I think they prove it.)
The question is how do we teach these deeper meanings to a generation who thinks romance is swiping right instead of left?
Rant over 🙂
There is only one way, and it hasn’t changed. Through modeling and teaching God’s way. But we first have to know it ourselves.
Now the rant is truly over. LOL