Listening and Accountability
I feel like part of my calling in the world is to help create spaces for communication and relationships. People need to feel heard and safe.
Once people feel heard and safe, then a relationship can ensue.
Only after a relationship is established can accountability occur today.
I see older, conservative people trying to hold total strangers accountable. It doesn’t work. Today’s young people get criticized for being disconnected from the institutions of church and marriage. Those critics never stop and ask themselves, “Why would these young people not be interested in joining the church or getting married?”
The reality is that the younger generations are not disconnected from each other. They are the most connected generation ever. The young are tech savvy and have a lot to bargain with in the world. The world needs their skills. The elders are often unwilling to learn anything new and have no bargaining chip. What the older people do have is a serious attitude problem. The attitude of churches, businesses, and the GOP is “This is how we do things around here. Take it or leave it.” Young people respond, “Whatever. Bye. Good luck with that.”
So young people start their own businesses, cobble together their own spiritualities, and forge new family formations. And they have a great deal of support from their friends. Churches have no hold upon people that have never officially joined in the first place. A pastor cannot hold morally accountable a young person they have never so much as had a conversation with, especially if that young adult never joined but was only forced to attend with their parents. Young adults will not listen to a religious authority figure from their parents’ church.
Today, being listened to is something earned. It comes from relationship, feeling safe and accepted for who they are, and real support when the young person needs it most. All of these things must occur before any accountability will be real to the young person. Trying to hold the parish council member’s kid accountable when talking to them has never been a priority is a joke. Young people know this. When will older people listen? I’m guessing never.
This is a new world. People are stressed. The greatest need I run into in other people and even myself is a desperation to be heard. There has to be a way to make a living at something so basic. When it comes to people that have never helped me and demand a voice in my life, I can only quote Rhett Butler, “Frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn.”