The Daily Wire reports on the usual scene of debauchery in Fort Lauderdale, as thousands of teenagers and college students descend upon the place to drink, have sex in public, do drugs, etc., etc., etc. We know how the story goes by now. And who can blame these kids? They need to blow off steam because they're stressed out from their near total lack of adult responsibilities. All of the sex and booze on campus gets old after a while, you see. They need sex and booze in Florida, too.
Of course we assume that this is all perfectly normal and natural. Not just spring break, but the entire college scene. The years of sex and drunkeness and irresponsibility, and so on. We've determined that the maturity and growth of a human person must inevitably involve at least about four or five years of spiritual insanity. First a person is a baby, then a young child, then an adolescent, then a teenager, then he plunges into a moral abyss for half a decade or so, and then a few more steps (???) and he magically becomes a well-rounded adult at some point in the future. That's how we think it's supposed to go, and must go. But the last step has not actually been happening for most people. They don't ever really emerge from the moral abyss. And so we have now a few generations of infantilized and obsessively self-centered adults to show for it. What I'm trying to suggest is that maybe — just maybe — it's not actually normal or healthy or a necessary rite of passage for young adults to behave like animals. Maybe for the majority of human history young adults behaved like adults, and were required to, and we should consider adopting a similar approach.
But that is a deeper conversation than I intend to have right now. For now, let's just cover a very practical base. How does our country even have this ridiculous spring break tradition? Most of these "kids" showing up at the beach do not have the ability to pay for the plane, the hotel, the food, the alcohol, and everything else. These are "kids" with no financial means, no jobs, no assets, nothing, and yet they are able to afford the kind of vacation that most grown and fully-employed adults cannot afford or would not waste their money on. It would seem almost like someone must be subsidizing the whole thing. Who?
Well, about a third of the revelers are stealing from their student loans to fund at least some of it. But what about the rest? Obviously mommy and daddy are the primary bankrollers here. Parents across the nation are giving their kids money — lots of money — so that their precious darlings can go have sex with drunken strangers for a week. It's a mind-boggling parenting decision, I must say. But I'm not sure you can really call it a parenting decision at all. It's more of an "I'm not going to bother being a parent anymore" decision.
I'm sure many of these parents will justify themselves by saying they need to give their kid "space" and let her have some "freedom" and "independence." But she is not free or independent so long as she's hanging onto your purse strings. If she wants the freedom to be reckless, stupid, and selfish, why not force her to exercise it on her own dime? This message is not effective: "Listen here, you better not act like a crazed baboon but if you really want to then here's 600 dollars for a plane ticket, sweetie."
Many college students today believe that they should be able to do what they want, and live how they want, and have someone else pay for it. Do you know how they arrived at that conclusion? Because that's what their parents taught them. Maybe if the parents of America would actually exercise their authority and judgment for a change, and make even the slightest attempt to instill some sort of moral formation in their kids, we may see improvements in the culture.
It's worth a shot, anyway.