Advice to Graduating Millennials: Don’t Jump the Ropes

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“I found out that he liked to ski, and as one who has never skied, I asked him if it is difficult. He replied that it was not that hard as long as you didn’t ‘jump the ropes.'”

As I walked down the aisle of the plane, I saw in the seat next to mine an amiable young fellow—a real live millennial. I was intrigued by the opportunity to talk.

Don’t get me wrong, plenty of millennial-age young people cross my path. Most of them don’t make a big deal about their “millennialness.”

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This particular fellow, however, was the real thing. He self-identified as a millennial in our first introduction. Thankfully he self-identified as something he actually is and not that which he imagines himself to be. We at least had the foundation for some kind of rational discussion.

He was an archetypal millennial on his way to his sister’s graduation at an Ivy League school. Here was one of those Bernie-backing children of affluent parents who have enough money to claim money is not important. In his hand was the latest i-Phone on which he texted, swiped and scrolled as we got to know each other. He ended his sentences with a slight up-tone that signaled no real commitment to his views as he probed my own.

It did not take long to realize that he professed an extreme individualism of allowing people to do whatever they wanted without moral restraints. At the same time, he expressed frustration at the political process, which he believed exists more to facilitate personal self-fulfillment than promote the common good. Despite everything, he was optimistic about the future since he thought the millennials will overcome all these obstacles by bringing meaning and purpose to American life.

Of course, as the conversation progressed, we got into those hot-button issues that are rocking campuses and the nation: transgender tyranny, micro-aggressions, self-identification and morality. I expected some political turbulence as we cruised comfortably at 32,000 feet.


But the bumps never came. It was a rather fluid debate in which we did not dwell for long on any particular subject. We disagreed on many issues but he did not defend his positions vehemently. In fact, it was rather easy to persuade him that, since lying and stealing are universally considered wrong in all cultures, some notion of natural law must exist. He had to admit that it was wrong to force people to act against their informed conscience as in the case of florists, bakers and others asked to service same-sex “marriages.” We even came to agree that things objectively exist and that reality can be known. Thus, self-identifying does not change the nature of things.

I was pleased to see that my millennial did not agree with many of the politically correct opinions the media claim he is supposed to uphold. He expressed irritation about diversity issues on campus. He lamented how our culture makes fathers look like clowns, and was writing a paper on what it means to be a man. His family and religion meant a lot to him. I could not help but admire his sense of adventure and idealistic desire to do something with meaning and purpose. I was surprised at some of the “conservative” attitudes he expressed.

Perhaps the most disconcerting part of the whole exchange was his lack of certainty. Our friendly conversation was not like the passionate student arguments of yore when people fought for their positions.

Our disagreements were much more temperamental than logical. Uncertainty and insecurity informed his every thought. If he could not explain something, he called it the product of evolution and social constructs. His temperamental resentment toward limits and restraints, and the authority that imposes them, proved difficult to get around. I wondered if there was any chance of introducing certainty into his fluid world. I am not saying all millennials are like my fellow passenger but only that the world that swirls around them favors the attitudes that my millennial had swallowed.

At a certain point, our discussion ended and we each took to reading. As the flight came to the close, I engaged in a bit of small talk to pass the time. I found out that he liked to ski, and as one who has never skied, I asked him if it is difficult. He replied that it was not that hard as long as you didn’t “jump the ropes.”

I asked him what he meant by “jumping the ropes.” He explained that there were certain areas of the mountain that are very dangerous because of the way the snow falls on them. If a person enters and skis these areas, it can cause an avalanche that can result in the death of the offender and those in the area. That is why, he explained, those in charge of the ski resorts rope off the dangerous areas and warn that those who venture into them do so at their own risk and should not expect to be rescued. Emphatically, he cautioned: “You don’t want to jump the ropes!”

Lawine

“In one sentence, he had summarized the whole point of our debate. With full certainty, he had affirmed the need for restraints, and the right of authority to establish limits.”

As we each went our ways, I could not help but think about this last piece of advice and smile. In one sentence, he had summarized the whole point of our debate. With full certainty, he had affirmed the need for restraints, and the right of authority to establish limits. He acknowledged the tragic consequences of what happens when there are no ropes. He was clear, compelling, and reasonable.

On his part, I am sure he went to his sister’s graduation ceremony and heard a politically correct commencement address that urges graduates to accept no limits—not even the restraints of identity and nature. This is not the message they need to survive in the real world. If I were asked to give some advice to graduating millennials, I would stick to the words of my flight companion: Pursue a life of purpose and meaning, but don’t jump the ropes, lest you trigger an avalanche.

As seen on crisismagazine.com

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  • Edward Koestner

    John, this is a great piece.

  • Praelium

    Thank you for an excellent review of a very conversation. Thank you for your radio interview today 6/7/16 on KZSB. “We even came to agree that things objectively exist and that reality can be known.” Phew. That is the key point of agreement. After that, it is all downhill. Young people needs to be encouraged to study classic works for four hours a day in order to leave the mud of mediocrity and to appreciate the goodness of God the Father.

  • Bloviating Billy BatShitsky

    One must remember that most of these Millennials have been severely mesmerized, brainwashed & propagandized by the Cultural Marxists & Godless Liberal Progressives starting from a early age in public schools, & maybe even some parochial schools & even by their PC parents in some cases & continuing throughout their lives by the MSM, colleges & the DEM party…This has been going on more & more as time goes on!!

    One must learn about Cultural Marxism above all to really see how this evil happened:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYu6qhd88_M

    We must pray that ArchAngel Michael cuts them free & they are saturated with the Flames of Truth, Purity & Wisdom!!

    • Franie

      Billy, it’s nice to see you’re making some sense.

  • Defensor Vitae

    If only all of Bernie’s supporters would read this, then they would understand why the only time others will feel the Bern is when they are in hell.

  • CommonSenseAlGuy

    Not a bad piece but other than a couple of major exceptions (like Abortion), Benie Sanders’ call for social justice & universal healthcare is quite similar to the Catholic Church’s stance on these things, more so than any other “major candidate”.

    • scragsma

      Perhaps the goals Bernie propounds are similar to those of the Catholic Church, but his proposed methods of attaining them are NOT similar to those the Church approves.

      • Guest4ever

        Thank you!

      • Willard Weems

        It not hard to reconcile, I do not take the risk of dying, I do not have the responsibility of bringing a child into the world, that would be a constant reminder of how this child came to be. If I play god and require the mother to risk death, and she dies, then I am guilty of murder. What does the bible say about murder? For one to judge in cases of rape or the possibility of the mother dying, is between her and god, not man. Again, if my wife was pregnant and the doctor said the possibility of her dying was very possible, then it would be her decision, and not mine to make, but my responsibility to support her. All life is sacred because only god can restore life, not man

        • Franie

          I was taught in the Catholic Church, that ALL life is scared, that if a woman finds that going full term with her baby will jeopardize either life, that the baby’s life takes precedence over the mother’s life! The mother has lived her life to that point in time, and that she needs to lay down her life for her baby’s sake, as that will EARN her a place with the Lord for all eternity!!!

      • Franie

        Bernie’s goals are very harmful to this country if implemented, and resembles nothing to that of the Catholic Church.

    • Mike

      CommonsenseAlguy said, “Benie Sanders’ call for social justice & universal healthcare is quite similar to the Catholic Church’s stance on these things”

      Where do you get the idea that universal health care is Catholic? Socialism is condemned in toto. There is only a line item condemnation of “unbridled competition” in Capitalism! Desiring universal health care with socialism condemned, is like using a condom with artificial birth control condemned! Catholics were always expected to pay what they could for health care. The guilds assisted people with health care, but that was more like insurance then universal health care. With Obama Care, people are expected to pay more then they can afford up front with no way out except to join a Protestant Health Coop.

      Bernie is not promoting Catholic social justice, that is, he is not promoting the “just price doctrine,” the “just living wage doctrine,” he is not promoting laws against usury defined as the charging of interest on a loan. Laws against usury work as an anti-trust law, stoping the transfer of money to the rich, such laws also create a more downwardly flexible cash economy making recessions or price deflation periods less problematic because insolvency and liquidation is taken out of the equation. The central banks could not exist as we have them with laws against usury! He is not promoting the use of guilds to check unbridled competition.

      • CommonSenseAlGuy

        “Where do you get the idea that universal health care is Catholic?” – from the church’s social teaching that everyone should have access to basic healthcare.

        The “democratic socialism” that Bernie proposes is not the same as the Marxist–Leninist brand of socialism that you’re thinking of and that the church condemns.

        Besides, if we had the social support and safety nets in place that Bernie proposes (like universal healthcare), women would be less likely to choose abortion because they would have more confidence that they can take care of their child and wouldn’t be so fearful.. and it’s that fear that often results in women choosing to abort.

        • Guest4ever

          We used to have social support and safety nets in place; some still do. They’re called, family, Church, friends, community. Nothing to do with increased taxes; thanks, but no thanks Bernie.

          • CommonSenseAlGuy

            Key words: “used to”…. but I wouldn’t want to beg my friends and family for hundreds of thousands of dollars for overpriced medical care.

          • Guest4ever

            CommonSense, “….overpriced medical care.” is, IMHO, 90% of the problem. Follow the money, and most people will discover TheMoneyMasters (youtube) who literally OWN the entire world. We as human beings need to get back to the, “small”. Even in a grocery store, for example, converse with people in line, the cashier, whomever. So MANY people don’t realize we are being made into 1) slaves and/or 2) machines or units in a machine, if you want to call big government and big business machines.

            So many people would be better served in their health care by giving up white and processed garbage and seeking out the natural. Cheap? Not necessarily, but usually better than the, “….overpriced medical care” that really isn’t care.

          • CommonSenseAlGuy

            If healthcare wasn’t “all about the money” then we’d have universal healthcare already…. but the powerful money interests like their huge profits and will do anything to protect them.

            Of course who could argue against eating better too.

        • Mike

          CommonsenseAlguy said “”Where do you get the idea that universal health care is Catholic?” – from the church’s social teaching that everyone should have access to basic healthcare.”

          The Hippocratic oath has always given everyone access to basic health care. Socialists slander the Church and their ancestors motivated by a desire to claim they have a right to break the 10th commandment and want their neighbors goods to provide basic health care to everyone, primarily because those who have no self control need to control something, the result of their sins, is unaffordable health care for most if not all. Even the American Capitalistic health care system had a tradition of doctors having their patients pay only what they could afford. Both the Catholic and the American health care systems worked till socialists destroyed them with their sins. They claimed that because some were not insured, they were deprived of access to basic healthcare, simply a lie, but since socialism now rules the land. Patients are deprived of access to basic healthcare by long lines and controlled insurance denial.

          CommonsenseAlguy said “The “democratic socialism” that Bernie proposes is not the same as the Marxist–Leninist brand of socialism that you’re thinking of and that the church condemns.”

          All that democratic means in this instance is that a majority of people want their neighbors goods and can take a legitimate institution called “civil authority” and use it in an unjustified manner.

          If a majority of people want to use condoms supplied by the state, then those condoms are not condemned by the Churches condemnation of artificial birth control?

          Socialism is condemned, it does not matter what word you put in front of it to make it sound legit, it’s not!

          CommonsenseAlguy said “Besides, if we had the social support and safety nets in place that Bernie proposes (like universal healthcare), women would be less likely to choose abortion because they would have more confidence that they can take care of their child and wouldn’t be so fearful.. and it’s that fear that often results in women choosing to abort.”

          You cannot promote or demand sin as a means to promoting virtue. God is not dependent on the devil for His Being.

          • CommonSenseAlGuy

            Mike: “The Hippocratic oath has always given everyone access to basic health care.”

            Me: Obviously not… many people (thousands) have died from lack of healthcare. This should be really obvious.

            Mike: “All that democratic means in this instance is that a majority of people want their neighbors goods and can take a legitimate institution called “civil authority” and use it in an unjustified manner.”

            Me: That’s your opinion, not the church’s. The church does not condem government taxes.

            Mike: “If a majority of people want to use condoms supplied by the state, then those condoms are not condemned by the Churches condemnation of artificial birth control?”

            Me: Artificial birth control would still be immoral… but that doesn’t make taxing people for healthcare immoral.

            Mike: “You cannot promote or demand sin as a means to promoting virtue. God is not dependent on the devil for His Being.”

            Me: But one should choose the lesser of two evils than the greater evil.

          • Mike

            I’m glad you brought up abortion, because socialism is condemned by Pope Leo XIII because it’s governing power is not derived from God. So if the power to rule in democratic socialism was derived from God, it would enact laws against abortion. The fact that abortion is legal under democratic socialism, is proof it’s laws are not derived from God and stands condemned with all other forms of socialism and communism. It would also seem that if democratic socialism was for equality it would also fall under the condemnation of the more original forms of socialism.

            http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13apost.htm

            As far as taxes go, Cesar (the government) has no just right to demand more then God, God only demands 10%. Can you provide universal health care as well as military defense etc. etc. etc. on 10% tax?

            You seem well aware that you are choosing evil, at least your honest about that! What our Catholic and American Capitalist ancestors did in providing health care was not evil. If you are really self governed, why choose evil at all? Why bow to the devil and give him honor? If you give credibility to the lessor of 2 evils, what happens if your democratic socialist rulers just keep getting more and more evil? I’m sick of the evil.

          • CommonSenseAlGuy

            Mike: “So if the power to rule in democratic socialism was derived from God, it would enact laws against abortion. The fact that abortion is legal under democratic socialism, is proof it’s laws are not derived from God and stands condemned with all other forms of socialism and communism.”

            Me: By that same logic, then if the power to rule in capitalism was derived from God, it would enact laws against abortion. The fact that abortion is legal under capitalism, is proof it’s laws are not derived from God and therefore should stand condemned with socialism and communism.

            So capitalism must be as bad as socialism because they both allow abortion, using your logic.

            The Catholic church does not teach or say that the government has no right to demand more than 10%.

            I would love not to have to choose an evil. As soon as there is a perfectly good candidate that does no evil then I will vote for them… until then I have to make a determination as to which candidate is the lesser evil… or I guess I could not choose evil and not vote at all…. but that might be a sin too because I should vote for the lesser of the evils, should I not?

      • Guest4ever

        Thank you. So much better than I could, “say”!

    • Franie

      NOT QUITE!!!!!

  • disqus_KXqeZMikzj

    wonderful!!

  • I talk to millenials every day, there are so many that are liberal, man buns in place, saying “gotcha” and “no worries”. They are lemmings with no original thoughts. One thought ali was a terorist, nixons crimes were horrible while obama and clinton have done nothing wrong. They have no idea who started the vietnam war, slavery was a democrat party idea, chappaquiddick was not an republican conspiracy, they , if they heard of Ted Kennedy and Mary Jo Kpoechnie actually believe it was set up by the gop! One thought the word ludacris came about because of the “rapper” . tehy have never heard of hard work or the law of diminishing returns….they are offended when one explains why public schools are a dinosauer kept on life support be unions and the democrat party…

    • Franie

      ……..”and the democrat party has hijacked the NEA, National Education Administration, who have absolutely dumbed down this generation purposely, indoctrinating them with false allegations and lack of a good education and common sense. Example: not long ago, not sure of whether it was on the Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel show, the ‘man on the street’ posed a very simple question to millennials on the street. The question? “Who was our nation’s Capitol named after?” Would you believe not one kid knew the answer, NOT ONE!!! Talk about going into a catatonic shock knowing fully well that this is tomorrow’s leaders, I was left speechless. These were college kids and they didn’t know who our country’s Capitol was named after???? SHOCKING!! God help us all as we older, who are far more knowledgeable people in this country, sail into our twilight years!!

  • Guest4ever

    Excellent!

  • JimW

    “he professed an extreme individualism of allowing people to do whatever they wanted without moral restraints.”
    C.S Lewis is quoted as saying “It is for people we care nothing about that we demand happiness on any terms.” Clearly those who are demanding complete moral freedom (transgender, gay marriage, etc.) for everyone – which of course includes their own immoral behavior – have no love of neighbor or concern for their eternal salvation.

  • mister malted

    It was very refreshing to read this. I came away with admiration for this young
    person.

    “His sentences signaled no real commitment to his views as
    he probed my own.” “Perhaps the most
    disconcerting part of the whole exchange was his lack of certainty.”

    Let us not forget what our own lives were like when we were
    in our 20s. Learning and listening to
    other views – how refreshing.

    ”I was surprised at some of the “conservative” attitudes he
    expressed.” While the young man was open
    to listening to other views, you had already put him in a box.

    It is also nice to learn of his optimism about the future as
    these young folks are the future.

    There is a lot to be learned from this young man.