William Strauss & Neil Howe* are historians and researchers of generations in America’s History. In their book, “Generations,” they reveal a pattern in our country’s history where the start and finish of a “cycle” goes through four generational types: 1) Idealists, 2) Reactives, 3) Civics, and 4) Adaptives.
Each generational type is affected by a pattern of two historic events or “social moments.” These events define and shape the entire culture within a single generation and ushers in a new “phase” in history. The two events are: Secular Crises followed by a Spiritual Awakening. Here’s how they’re defined:
1) Secular Crises: “Outer-focused events such as wars, threats of war, or catastrophes that challenge the external structures of society.”
2) Spiritual Awakenings (which follows a secular crisis): “Inner-focused events that challenge the internal values of society.”
Without time to elaborate, let me just say that throughout America’s history, Secular Crises were dealt with by the rising adults of that generation, followed by a “Spiritual Awakening” in the succeeding generation (case in point: WWII generation’s crisis, followed by the Jesus movement awakening of the Boomers). The years between America’s “spiritual awakenings” averaged 64 years. In the last days, however, rapid societal shifts in culture, the geo-political landscape, and technology will cause these social “moments” to happen more quickly (like within 10-20 years). Look at all that’s transpired in just the last two or three years since 911, fourteen years ago. Values are all over the place, institutions are despised, federal, state and local governments are despised, and institutional religion is despised.
Today, America is teetering on the threshold of the next social moment of a Secular Crisis. It’s looming ever so rapidly and the Millennial generation (Gen Y) and Generation Z are the generations that will have to face it, just as my Dad’s generation (the Builder generation) had to face their Secular Crisis. There’s a difference, however, between the generations. My Dad’s generation carried a different set of values, morals, and principles about God, about community, and about the value of life and love of country. What made them a great generation and triumphant in their secular crisis came from an inner core of beliefs that propelled them to sacrifice their lives for the “next” generation.
We have what we have and are blessed as a nation, because of their foresight. It’s incumbent upon us to keep that in mind, and for Millennials and Gen Zs, especially, to keep that in mind for their children and their grandchildren’s future. We cannot afford the luxury to live for temporary pleasures and ignore the “writing on the wall.” The test is ahead, very soon, as Russia continues its march toward Israel and Iran continues its March, in league with Russia, to intimidate, infiltrate, dominate and caliphate the middle east with Sharia law. And here’s the rub…compared to America, Muslims do it for the “next generation” and the ones after that. For Islam, it’s ALL about the “next” generation, which is why they’re advancing so rapidly and America’s retreating.
America has become like Jacob’s twin brother, “Esau”…only interested in a pot of stew−today−and turns her birthright of exceptionalism over to socialism and Islamism. For America, our government has become an “Esau.” Her citizens (represented by Jacob), still see value in the birthright our forefathers fought for and died for us to have. Jacob valued the future (the birthright), whereas Esau only valued today. Thus Jacob easily bought…BOUGHT…the birthright from Esau, who happily made the trade because he could not see past “today.” Jacob went on to be the patriarch of the twelve tribes of Israel and perpetuated the covenant promise God made to his grandfather, Abraham−that in him (Abraham’s descendants through Isaac and Jacob) all the families of the earth would be blessed. That promise was Esau’s birthright, but he forfeited it for one stupid bowl of stew.
This is an analogy for politicians, “bought” politicians, “Esau” politicians that have been happily selling our birthright to be a blessing to all nations−that shining city on a hill. Activists in our government and the judicial branches can see no further than their stomachs and pocketbooks, amassing votes with empty promises, only to secure their future, their power, and their retirement, without regard for the “next generation.” The power brokers of the minority in government [and their oligarchs behind them]…do…not…care about the “next” generation. That’s what emboldens Putin, that’s what emboldens Iran, that’s what emboldens ISIS and every other branch of radical Islamism. They do care about their next generation, carrying on the cause of their mission to establish a theocratic/political state. And when they look upon their counterparts of politicians and government leaders in our country [who don’t care]…they find it a cake walk to offer our politicians and government officials a bowl of stew to satisfy their short-sighted appetites, while discarding our birthright of freedom.
To change this direction only one thing can be done. That is to accept the fact that we will never turn this juggernaut of “Esau-ism” around, until we decide to shape and equip the minds of the Millennials and Gen Zs to think like Jacob did [with foresight], and value their birthright more than temporary pleasures. They’ve been indoctrinated in our public schools, colleges and universities with “Esau-ism” and emerge as “Esau’s” who vote other “Esau’s” into office. We’ve got to get radical and creative. We’ve got to take the tools and language of the Millennials and Gen Zs to re-educate and equip them to become the future’s protectors of the birthright for the “next generation.”
Tomorrow, I will tell you one “creative” way we can do this. It’s only “one” tool in the fight for the minds and hearts of the Millennials and Gen Zs, and we’re going to need the Boomers (what’s left of us) and Gen-Xers to join in the fight for them. There’s a serious “secular crisis” looming on the horizon.
Let me leave you with this quote from Thomas Jefferson: “Every generation needs a revolution.”
GENERATIONS —The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069, William Strauss & Neil Howe, Quill, NY—1991
MILLENNIALS RISING—The Next Great Generation, William Strauss & Neil Howe, Vintage Books, NY—2000
BOOMERS, XERS, and OTHER STRANGERS, Rick & Kathy Hicks, Tyndale House, IL—1999