Tag Archives: Suicide

Not Better Off Dead – A Poem

The Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub today is to write about a first time for something. I thought of something that I have only done once, and am thankful I’ve never had happen again. But there are people who have had this happen so many times they maybe can’t even remember the first time. My prayers are with them, my hope that they recognize the lie.

Not Better Off Dead

Clearly I recall the first time
the thought entered my mind
They’d be better off if I was dead

I immediately knew it was wrong
but still a method to my madness
began to form in the recesses of
my deeply troubled mind

I could picture the bottle of pills
designed to make me better
but could just as easily
be my demise

Then they’d be free, I’d be free

The Psalmist wrote
The angel of the LORD encamps around
those who fear him, and he delivers them

That first time His angel
was encamped around me

He delivered me from that first thought
made me know it was wrong
ensured it was the last time
that thought ever entered my mind

Now we are free and together
because the Lord let me know
I was not better off dead

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Filed under Faith, Family, Jesus, Life, Poetry

Are the Youth of Our Nation a Lost Generation?

Last Saturday I was getting ready to go to the farmers’ market with my friend when a song by P.O.D. called “Youth of the Nation” came on my iPod. As I listened, I knew that this song would be the basis of my Music Monday post. It’s not a happy song. In fact, it brings tears to my eyes almost every time I hear it. But it has an important message.

WARNING: This post includes discussion of some disturbing things about kids today, and the video of “Youth of the Nation” includes graphic and disturbing photographs.

It seems more and more these days the news is filled with stories of violent or suicidal kids. Just last week a 17-year-old boy in Florida bludgeoned both of his parents to death with a hammer, then locked their bodies in their bedroom (having dragged them there from the kitchen), and threw a party for a bunch of his friends. Though there hasn’t been a school shooting in the news this week, the last one wasn’t long enough ago to be called a distant memory, and there have been more such shootings in recent years than I like to think about.

Also last week, I saw the story of how the authorities had found the remains of a 13-year-old boy who had been missing for 2 years. Before that, his parents had verbally and physically abused him and forced him to spend his days in a dog cage without food or water. Although social workers had been notified that this was happening, on visits to the home they had found no problems. No one missed this little boy in all that time. Then, of course, there is the case of the murder of little Caylee Anthony that has dominated the news for weeks during the trial of her mother. Even if Casey Anthony didn’t kill Caylee, it is appalling to think that she did not even report her child missing for over 30 days.

These cases have made the news, but they are not isolated cases. They are just the stories the media has chosen to highlight. But every day there are children in our nation who are feel lost. Some are abused by their parents, siblings, or other relatives. Others are bullied and degraded by their peers and teachers. Some become so angry about their abuse that they become violent, or they are so distraught by the thought that no one cares that they become suicidal.

My son actually has a friend at school who has confided in him that he is severely depressed and often thinks of suicide. This kid says he is an atheist, and he doesn’t seem to believe that anyone loves him or cares, not even his parents. My son asking about how he is doing may be the only lifeline this kid has. I have wondered more than once of this kid is the ticking time bomb at my son’s school.

Of course, there are a lot of good, well-adjusted kids in our nation, too. My son and a lot of his friends are among them. But I have to wonder what makes the difference? And why does it seem that there are more violent and suicidal kids than there were 50 years ago? I think this is a question that we have to ask because many of our youth are on the verge of being a lost generation.

The other day I had a conversation with a dear old friend of mine (and when I say old, I mean she’s almost 90) that for me shed some light on the answers to these questions. She said that when she was a little girl, church was their life. Everyone went to church and all of their activities, such as dances and potlucks, were all church centered. Everybody loved Jesus and everyone looked out for each other.

For so many kids today, it just isn’t like that anymore. Either their parents don’t go to church, or if they do it’s just a Sunday thing. We have become a society of such self-centered people that we can’t see when a kid is lost or hurting. We don’t get to know each other and we don’t look out for each other. We certainly don’t make a big deal about loving Jesus. So many other things take precedence over a relationship with God, and even over real relationships with each other.

But I suppose such self-centeredness isn’t really new. It stems from our sinful nature, which has been around for a long time. It’s just that we’ve forgotten that the cure for our self-centeredness is to put Christ at the center of everything. Or perhaps we’ve even forgotten that self-centeredness is something that needs to be cured.

When parents let self-centeredness rule their lives, they fail to put Christ first and they fail to put their children second. They forget to tell their children that they love them and that God loves them. In such an environment, children don’t know love, and without love they cannot thrive.

So what do we do about this? Well, here is my challenge to all the Christians who read this:

  • Tell your kids that you love them every single day, not just by what you do but with words.
  • Tell your kids that God loves them, and get them involved in church youth activities that will help to nurture their souls.
  • Encourage your kids to invite their friends to church youth group activities, even if the friends aren’t Christians.
  • Pray for your youth ministers and directors. They are on the front lines and often have opportunities to minister to your kids’ friends in a way that you never would.
  • Ask your youth ministers and directors what you can do to help, and tell them you appreciate all that they do.
  • Pray for the youth of our nation, that they would find Christ and not end up a lost generation.

The youth of our nation need faith, hope, and love. Without these things, we will continue to see a rise in the violence and loss. The final verse of “Youth of the Nation” asks some hard questions:

Who’s to blame for the lives that tragedies claim
No matter what you say It don’t take away the pain
That I feel inside, I’m tired of all the lies
Don’t nobody know why, It’s the blind leading the blind
I guess that’s the way that the story goes
Will it ever make sense? Somebody’s got to know
There’s got to be more to life than this
There’s got to be more to everything I thought exists

These are the questions many of our youth are asking as they see the violence around them. They need to know that there is more to life, that Christ came so that they could live an abundant life. They are being led by the blind. Those of us who see God’s love, who know of Christ’s sacrifice, need to show them the way. I am thankful that bands like P.O.D. do just that in their music (not all of which is depressing like this song). But we all need to step up and help a lost generation find love.

Again, the photos in this video are pretty graphic, and the song style is hard rock. I’ve posted the lyrics below the video if you don’t want to watch the images in the video.

 

“Youth of the Nation” by P.O.D.

Last day of the rest of my life
I wish I would’ve known
Cause I didn’t kiss my mama goodbye
I didn’t tell her that I loved her, how much I care
Or thank my pops for all the talks
And all the wisdom he shared

Unaware, I just did what I always do
Everyday, the same routine before I skate off to school
But who knew that this day wasn’t like the rest
Instead of taking a test I took two to the chest

Call me blind, but I didn’t see it coming
Everybody was running, but I couldn’t hear nothing
Except gun blasts, it happened so fast
I didn’t really know this kid though I sit by him in class

Maybe this kid was reaching out for love
Or maybe for a moment he forgot who he was
Or maybe this kid just wanted to be hugged
Whatever it was, I know it’s because

We are, We are, (we are) the Youth of the Nation
We are, We are, (we are) Youth of the Nation
We are, We are, (we are) the Youth of the Nation
We are, We are, (we are) Youth of the Nation

Little Suzy, she was only twelve
She was given the world with every chance to excel
Hang with the boys and hear the stories they tell
She might act kind of proud, but no respect for herself
She finds love in all the wrong places
The same situations, Just different faces
Changed up her pace since her daddy left her
Too bad he never told her she deserved much better

Johnny boy always played the fool
He broke all the rules so you would think he was cool
He was never really one of the guys
No matter how hard he tried, Often thought of suicide
It’s kind of hard when you ain’t got no friends
He put his life to an end, They might remember him then
You cross the line and there’s no turning back
Told the world how he felt with the sound of a gat

We are, We are, (we are) the Youth of the Nation
We are, We are, (we are) Youth of the Nation
We are, We are, (we are) the Youth of the Nation
We are, We are, (we are) Youth of the Nation

Who’s to blame for the lives that tragedies claim
No matter what you say It don’t take away the pain
That I feel inside, I’m tired of all the lies
Don’t nobody know why, It’s the blind leading the blind
I guess that’s the way that the story goes
Will it ever make sense? Somebody’s got to know
There’s got to be more to life than this
There’s got to be more to everything I thought exists

We are, We are, the Youth of the Nation
We are, We are, Youth of the Nation
We are, We are, (we are, we are) the Youth of the Nation
We are, We are, (we are, we are) Youth of the Nation
We are, We are, (we are, we are) the Youth of the Nation (the Youth of the Nation)
We are, We are, (we are, we are) Youth of the Nation (Youth of the Nation)
We are, We are, (we are, we are) the Youth of the Nation (the Youth of the Nation)
We are, We are, (we are, we are) Youth of the Nation (Youth of the Nation)
We are, the Youth of the Nation
We are, Youth of the Nation
We are, the Youth of the Nation
We are

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Filed under Faith, Family, Jesus, Life, Music, postaday2011, Service