Saturday, August 20, 2011

Adults Needed

Let's admit it. We're all wondering if the ties that bind our society together aren't being unloosed. I think we're in a tough spot these days. We don't know up from down perhaps because we're majoring in left and right. We Iive in a society that's confused ...spiritually, politically, ethically and financially. We're adept at pointing fingers but not very keen on introspection.

A few years ago I spent some time studying and teaching a course called "Developing Capable People'. It was developed by Stephen Glenn and Jane Nelson. The premise is that those who make it in this world see themselves differently than those who are struggling with life. Additionally, those who struggle are lacking in some important skill areas. It's not brain surgery.

Those who make it in life see themselves as capable, influential and responsible. These are key perceptions. But along with the perceptions they seem to have developed some important skills. They are self-aware and self disciplined, understanding the need to process feelings and information through some sort of well formed moral grid. Additionally, they know how to deal with both people and systems. That requires some adaptability and flexibility. Listening skills help as well and actually being able to say what one means and meaning what one says is a real asset. Finally, they make decisions based on some well honed judgment skills, tapping into something bigger than their own experience or desires. Have all this and there is a good chance you'll see a functioning adult prepared to make a difference. If these aren't present true adulthood will remain elusive.

So, as I've been watching the cultural landscape recently I'm realizing that many of those making decisions haven't ever become an adult. Too many don't know how to access and/or process feelings. Lots of folks (look at Congress) haven't learned to play well together and the interpersonal skill set of many adult looking people is quite appalling. And it seems like the guiding mantra for a whole lot of folks is to "eat, drink, acquire, blame, and be trendy". Hardly the stuff that inspires anyone to greatness. And if decisions are being made based on what's going to get us more stuff, accolades and trendiness then God help us all.

I wonder if many of our problems aren't parenting issues. Maybe, just maybe, we need to start over ...with just about everyone. I'm not kidding. Maybe everyone needs to be reparented. Few would agree that the Jersey Shores crowd was parented well. And impulse control is a lost art. If you don't believe me just hang around social media awhile or tune into your favorite talk show. Wall Street flunks a whole lot of judgment and ethical tests. Ever try to get someone to submit to authority? Without submission we're all sizzled.

Maybe we're in the mess we're in because what we needed to be taught when we were young just didn't take root in our lives. And it's hard to pass on what we don't have to the next generation. Maybe we can all start to reparent each other. To help each other mature into the people God desires us to be. I have a hunch we need to learn how to be 'more' to each other. That's not easy. It means that I have to admit that maybe I'm not all I think I am. I might need to humble myself so God can do his thing in my life, even now at 61. What about you?

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