Summary: The Texas Cooperative Extension recently published a study titled “Dynamics in Middle Adulthood: Caring for Grandchildren, Adult Children, and Aging Parents.” The article stated that members of the “Baby Boomer” generation may find themselves with respon
“The Boomerang Generation”
The Texas Cooperative Extension recently published a study titled “Dynamics in Middle Adulthood: Caring for Grandchildren, Adult Children, and Aging Parents.” The article stated that members of the “Baby Boomer” generation may find themselves with responsibilities for inter-generational caregiving. The study found one in four 18 to 34-year-olds in the U.S. are living with his or her middle-aged parents -- a phenomenon that has been called the “cluttered nest.” It seems that when middle-adulthood parents are entering the “empty nest” years, they may find that their adult children are returning home from college, military service, because of divorce, or because of drug or alcohol problems. The term that has been coined for children returning home for emotional and financial support until they can “get on their feet” again is the “Boomerang Generation.”
It is this phrase that has prompted the title for this study in God’s Holy Word. The Texas Cooperative Extension study concludes that middle-aged parents are less likely to find themselves with empty nests than were their counterparts 20 or 30 years ago. More young adults are postponing marriage or are marrying and divorcing. Likewise, recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that about one in four (27 percent) individuals 18–34 years of age in this country are living with their parents. Low wages and unemployment are contributed to the difficulty young people have in making it on their own.
Of course, this presents a challenge for the Christian community. As Christian parents, how does one deal with the Boomerang Generation? If it is not a concern for you as parents now, it may be in the future. For the answer, let’s examine together what God’s Holy Word has to say:
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord…Ephesians 6:1-4.”
The “cluttered nest” is indeed a phenomenon and Christian homes are not immune. Notice in this passage of Scripture, Paul speaks directly to the children but it’s not to just children who are young and dependent. The word Paul uses here is “teknia.” It doesn’t mean little ones, but refers to any person living under the roof of a parent’s home. If a son or daughter leaves home and returns to live even for a brief time with their parents, they are obligated to obey their parents in the Lord. The Holy Spirit says in verse one, “for this is right” in the sight of God.
There is nothing wrong in the eyes of The Holy Spirit, for godly parents to request their children regardless of age to obey the rules of the household. This should include in my opinion going to church as a family unit. Remember, Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” For children of this so called Boomerang Generation, this should not be interpreted as a law or legalistic command of overbearing or controlling parents but a rule of the household, which should be followed to maintain God’s order for the home.
Older children returning home should see their readmission to the home as a loving and gracious act on the part of parents and not a legalistic obligation because they sons or daughters. The title of son or daughter entitles you to receive the grace but not to demand it. For a returning child to the home to have the attitude, “I am an adult and can do whatever I please” is erroneous. The Holy Spirit says you have placed yourself under the shelter and rule of your parents again and you should submit to their authority and the conditions of the household as is fitting in the Lord.
This is further emphasized in the original text by the word, which is translated “obey.” It comes from two words, under and to listen. It is an action word and a rigidly literal translation means, “to listen under.” What is in view is a conscious and deliberate listening, listening that involves a submission of your ears so as to really hear. It carries the idea of a soldier ready to engage in battle and he is listening carefully for the orders and instructions of his commanding officer because his life may ultimately depend on it.
The Word of God in verse two tells returning children it is not enough to just do what your parents say, but you must value and respect their position. The word “honor” literally means to “give value”. Returning children are to honor, value, and cherish their parents not patronize or deceive them. Godly parents are God’s chosen gift to children to lead, guide, and instruct them in the things of the Lord.