One of the greatest problems that our society faces is that we have raised up a generation of guys, not a generation of men, much less a generation of gentlemen. Those who are held up as role models are not worthy of emulating: immature athletes, actors, and self-made social-media celebrities. In my father’s generation, men, by and large, knew how to work, how to work hard, and how to sacrifice. Men stepped up and volunteered to fight for their country. They showed respect to authority figures and to one another, even when they disagreed. In my mother’s generation, women were ladies who were generally characterized by their modesty, chastity, humility, honor, courage, and diligence. In previous generations, men and women in their late teens were ready to hold down jobs and to be faithful fathers and mothers, loving husbands and respectful wives. Today, extended adolescence has left many with the feeling that they are still too young for such things even in their twenties and thirties, prompting them to unduly delay meaningful work and family.
There are, of course, contrary examples, but it is undeniable that there has been a significant shift over the past century in the character of men and women. For all the virtue of previous generations, they failed in an important task: to teach the ancient virtues that defined generations of faithful men and women who had diligently woven them into the fabric of society, passing them on from generation to generation. Those virtues are therefore becoming lost, and there are many in our culture who are not content with merely losing the ancient virtues but who are outright rejecting them and replacing them with a new set of redefined, deconstructed, and pragmatic virtues that are meant to give the impression of virtue but that are devoid of a principled and unchanging authority undergirding them.
Fundamentally, the ancient virtues are lost and rejected because people are lost and wandering aimlessly, and people are lost and wandering because they have outright rejected God and His unchanging, authoritative standard that defines and demonstrates what is genuinely virtuous, not just what outwardly signals virtue according to whichever ideology is currently in vogue. For it is only when we know God and His unchanging standard that the ancient virtues will characterize us, not ultimately so we can get back to what things were like in past generations but so that we will look back to the God of the ancient virtues who gloriously and humbly manifested the full array of virtues in our supreme example and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, for His glory alone.