Life here in the United States is becoming more of a challenge with each passing year.
As I look back over the past 50 years, I have seen dramatic changes in our culture. The pressures we now live under have changed us dramatically over the not-too-distant past. One can’t help but wonder what additional changes will do to younger families today who are running to keep up with the pressures in their lives.
How did we get trapped in this high-speed lifestyle that has changed our daily life so dramatically? One almost feels guilty when we take a few hours to do nothing and to enjoy the almost lost art of true quiet time and meditation.
Looking back 50 years ago, the typical family had three children, and the odds of it being an original family was 80 percent. Today the chance of the children growing up with the same original parents is 50 percent, due primarily to divorce.
In addition, a 40-hour work week was common with less than 20 percent of the children needing daycare. Today the work week is 45 to 50 hours, and more than 60 percent require daycare. Obviously this takes a heavy toll on the family with spending less and less time as a family unit.
Today as the children become teens, their schedules dictate transportation to and from events at school, etc. This leads to more limited time to sit down as a family to the evening meal. That time, gathered as a family with no pressure or hassle, is being lost. The lost time to share with each other, in a family setting, is critical to the continued productive growth of the family unit and the learned values taught to the children.
We are paying the price for lack of this training, as evidenced by negative instances in schools and street crime on the rise in all areas of the country. The value of the family unit is being undermined by our demanding pace of life; we parents are becoming slaves, too.
Our need for the latest technology with all the devices available today accelerates our lifestyle. Most of the devices encourages us to respond more rapidly, schedule more events and live at a faster pace. This all leads to more stress, which contributes negatively to our health and general well-being — in the form of high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety and weight gain to name only a few.
We no longer eat our meals at regular hours, nor are they the best for us to consume (being fast food in many cases.) Even our grocery stores are packed with packaged prepared foods, which are full of additives that are impossible to pronounce, let alone to consume. The fast-paced lifestyle with its poor eating choices is causing serious weight concerns, with one-third of the population overweight, and as we age to 65, it becomes two-thirds for that age group.
Healthy eating is all but lost in our fast-paced society, and we are paying the price with the increased use of prescription drugs. During the past 24 years, prescription drug use has increased some 21 percent and now amounts to some $234.1 billion dollars a year. The use of illicit drugs is on the rise with all age groups during the past 10 years, according to the National Institute on Drug Use.
We seem to be reaching out in the wrong directions for cures to our depression and other emotions. For those 15 to 44 years of age, the death rate due to suicide has more than doubled during the past 50 years (U.S. Statistics).
We have become a society of unhappy people looking for relief with the wrong focus. Why have we rejected God’s teachings, when that rejection has resulted in our current deteriorated cultural situation?
“Our” taking charge is certainly proving unsuccessful. We are losing our love of life in God’s plan for us. “For in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
When do we confess our troubled lifestyle and look to him for help?
Dean McFarland is a board member for the Hancock County Council on Aging. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.