How an enslaved Old Testament woman’s trials gave me insight into raising the “strawberry generation.”

You’re reading the English translation of the winner of Christianity Today’s second annual essay contest for Christians who write in Indonesian. Learn more about the competition and CT’s multilingual work, and check out the winning essays written originally in Portuguese, French, Chinese, and Spanish.

At its core, life is a challenge. A challenge that requires people to have the mental equipment to either face it or avoid it. (Rhenald Kasali, Strawberry Generation , 2017)

Several years ago, economist Rhenald Kasali wrote about the current cohort of young Indonesian people that many of have referred to as the “strawberry generation.” The fruit metaphor has become popular as a way of expressing both this cohort’s beauty and propensity to bruise easily. Currently experiencing far greater prosperity than their parents and grandparents and often praised for their creativity, the strawberry generation has also been criticized for wilting in the face of adversity, being overly sensitive, and hunting for quick ways to achieve something.

As a father of two children, one of whom is a teenager, I have come to suspect I may have “strawberries” growing in my household. My concerns have become compounded by an increasingly sophisticated digital world and a pandemic that has forced my children to live online for the last few years.

In searching for wisdom on how to best parent my children in the coming years, I’ve turned to Genesis, a book full of stories of imperfect patriarchs. Specifically, I’ve returned multiple times to the story of Hagar (Gen. 16) and learned that sometimes God allows his people to endure hardship so they can understand his beautiful plan.

Hagar, an Egyptian …

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