An absent past

It’s a typical day for me. I wake up at 5:30 or 6 a.m. and head to the border between Mexico and the U.S. I have been living in Tijuana, Mexico since the summer of 2004, and crossing the border on a daily basis ever since.

Often I sit in my car moving at a steady snail’s pace waiting to cross, when all of a sudden someone changes lanes rapidly and cuts me off. We all have done it; we all have thought it at one point in our life, when you start to ask “Don’t I wish I had a time machine to go back to decades past?”

I’m talking about the “good old days” when people were more friendly and more sensitive than today. Now, every day driving, walking, or just being at my home in Tijuana or San Diego, I see rudeness and stressed faces.

The ‘80s, for example, were times when knew our neighbors and helped our friends and family. Our cultural values as a generation were straighter than today’s, so where did we go wrong? And are my claims accurate?

Nowadays, most people forget that a little “hello” or a wave of the hand when someone lets you change lanes while driving at rush hour, or offering a sandwich or water to immigrants who cross the borders coming from another country to find a better life makes a whole lot of difference in their life, instead we now receive them with shotguns and insults.

Most of us brag and say that we are Christians, but many times forget to act like it. Yes, I too am ashamed to say I forget most often than not.

According to Steve Rodeheaver, a part-time theology professor, the problem rests on the “breakdown in family structure.” In part this is true; but, as he also mentioned, the issue is so broad that we can’t pinpoint one element or problem as the sole cause. We shall discuss some anyway.

A few such problems are the greed of power, lack of respect toward others, racism or even divorce creates identity crisis. All these problematic elements point to the many items that contribute to this, including drugs, alcohol, lack of education or lack of work. Even racism in the family can be a contributor to the breakdown of family relationships. And, as Rodeheaver added, “if you don’t respect your family, how would you respect others?”

Rodeheaver also identified one idea that significantly contributes to how our society thinks, this thought being that “a father is replaceable.” And, hey! Why shouldn’t this be?

According to singlemotherguide.com on an article published on March 23, 2012 and updated on September 14, 2014, about four of 10 children were born to unwed mothers and nearly two-thirds are born to mothers under the age of 30. This is due in part to the growing trend of children being born outside marriage – a trend that was virtually unheard of in the past.

All this comes back to our previous point that families these days as a society communicate that a lack of fatherhood can be okay. Please, don’t take me wrong, while I say that, I have the utmost respect to single mothers – as my mother is one – but I must agree that this may be the key element we are losing. Respect and appreciation for a woman comes from a father figure – due to his mother and grandmother are women – therefore transmitting that to his children. If there is no father in the family, it is harder but not impossible for the mother to communicate that same message.

We need to think how we conduct ourselves nowadays. But, foremost, we need to look deep into ourselves and focus on our Christians practices, our values, what we have been through in our families, and if we lacked that guidance in our families we need to grab the knowledge and values of a good person that has been present in our lives so we too can follow the right and glorious path to happiness.