It’s no secret that there are many lonely people in the world. Usually most of us imagine that this is what happens to some people as they enter their golden years. To a large extent this is true. A person grows older and finds that a lot of their family has passed on. A dining room that was once full of grandparents, uncles and aunts and, of course, mom and dad is now quite different during the holiday season.
It’s a natural progression in life to lose older family members as we ourselves grow older. But did you know that today, more than ever before, there are many young people that spend their entire lives not knowing the wonderful experience of sharing their lives with a loving and extended family?
For many years now our country has experienced a decline in the traditional nuclear family. Many young people spend their entire childhood without a father figure in their home. There are many reasons for this increasingly common situation including divorce, parents that were never really “together” in the first place and, unfortunately, fathers that simply choose not to be a part of their child’s life. It’s a sad situation and it is taking a toll on our nation’s youth.
One needs only to look at the increase in crime being perpetrated by the nation’s youth, declining school grades and a general lack of respect for authority figures to realize that something is terribly wrong. Thinking about this situation caused me to remember the Jim Carrey movie The Cable Guy. Did you see that movie? It was pretty much trashed by the critics and admittedly a strange departure for the usually hilarious Mr. Carrey but it did make a statement about the youth of today.
In the movie Jim’s character (Chip Douglas) is a man that spent his entire childhood with cable TV being his “babysitter”, his only link to the rest of the world. Mom wasn’t around very much and dad was nowhere to be found. As a result Chip’s identity became various characters that he had seen on television. If you’re old enough to remember, Chip Douglas was one of the son’s on the popular TV series My Three Sons which aired from 1960 - 1972.
The entire point of the movie was how much of a devastating effect the lack of a tight knit family unit can have on the life of a young person. Today I suspect that becoming part of a gang or living vicariously via the internet is more likely than finding refuge in a television show but the theme is exactly the same. It’s all about young people searching for their identity and finding acceptance wherever and from whomever they can.
I believe that this situation has reached epidemic proportions and it is we, the adults that must do something to change it. There’s a reason that violence in our schools, dangerous gangs of youths roaming the streets and teenage pregnancy is at an all time high and we know what it is don’t we? It all starts at home and if the continued decline of the traditional nuclear family continues, things will only become worse.