The e-generation Child

24 September 2006: 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 9, 30-37 The Child of Today

A father of a teenager said, “When I was young, I listened to my parents, so I looked forward to becoming a parent myself. Now that I am a parent, they ask me to listen to my children. I think I will complain to the One up there.”

I guess the Gospel today poses a challenge for many of us who are grappling with the question of the present generation, the e-generation. Jesus places a child to his disciples who were arguing who among them is greatest. He said that if anyone wants to be great must first learn to be small. If Jesus was here with us, and He places an e-generation child with us, will He say the same?

Let’s look at certain statistics. Dr. Mercy Abad gave a talk on the youth to Catholic Communicators at the University of Santo Tomas. She gave the following data: the 2000 Philippine Population Census tells us that the median and average age of our country is 20. It is easy to imagine it like a pyramid. We have more young people now. 50% of our population is below 20 years old; 29% are 21-39 years old; and 21 % are 41 years old. So let’s do a broad division for our purposes. Those above 40 are senior citizens; those 20 to 40 are members of the youth; and the 20 and below are the young.

Senior (40 + )

Youth (39-21)

Young (20 - )


grew up in hard times, traditional values

In relative prosperity from their parents, educational opportunities

Tumultuous times, Political/ Social/ Eco/ Tech change.


Transistor Radios

Touch Phones & TV

Cellphones, cable TV, email, computers. MP3/MP4, cyberspace

May IQ ka ba?

May EQ ka ba?

May IT ka ba?

Attitude towards technology





As long as they are protected

Change is risk-taking

They celebrate change; they love diversity

Mental State

Long Suffering




Extended family

Father and Mother

Father or Mother


Top Priority

Can be postponed

What’s the big deal?

Institutions (eg. church, education)

Great respect for institutions

Questions & shatters institutions

Reject institutions: often very irreverent






for marriage, on honeymoon

if you can’t be good at it, at least be careful; in car backseats

just an expression of love; virtual sex on the internet

Sex in movies

1st French kiss in movies

Real but artistic

leaves nothing to the imagination

So the child today may not be innocent and humble anymore, have more knowledge about the things of today, can adapt to changes, do not have solid values, and do not believe in the institutional church. I was wondering: Should the e-generation child still be Jesus’ icon of humility, the example of one who is totally dependent on God (they’re dependent on technology than their parents who are not always there anyway, except sometimes at meals)?

That father of a teenager may find his life conflicting and confusing, but his remark is true: he has to listen to his children to become a great father. In 1809, the world was busy emphasizing the bloody scenes of tyranny by Napoleon Bonaparte, the small dictator of France. From Trafalgar to Waterloo his name was a synonym for superiority. During that time of invasions and battles in Europe, no one was paying attention to Britain and America. Babies were born in 1809, but who is interested in babies, and cradles and cribs while history is being made by the Fall of Austria. Somebody should have. A host of thinkers and statesmen drew their first breath in 1809: a) Alfred Tennyson began his life in Lincolnshire; b) Edgar Allan Poe, started his brief and tragic life; c) A physician named Darwin and his wife called their infant son, Charles Robert; d) In a rugged cabin in Hardin County, Kentucky owned by an illiterate wandering laborer, was filled with the cries of a newborn boy named Abraham Lincoln.

Only a handful of history buffs today would remember Austria in 1809. What appeared to be super-significant to the world has proven to be no more exciting than a lazy afternoon in the barrios. What seemed to be totally insignificant was, in fact, the beginning of a new era.

To be great is to take care of the new generation, confusing it may seem. Influence one of them (with the statistics, we have to influence MORE of them), you have paved the way for the future. Jose Rizal reminds us that the hope of our country is truly and literally the young of today. To be great Christians, maybe we should think about how to care for our children.

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