“The capacity to relate to another person in a caring way is an achievement of maturity.” BOOM!
This isn’t Peterson’s point, but here is a great gut-check. Am I mature? Well, do I relate to others in a caring way? He goes on:
“Young people have moments when they care, but it is not characteristic among them to have the sustained strength and emotional stability for the faithful caring of another.” (p. 43)
According to Peterson, you learn caring by being cared for. So what happens when a generation reaches “adulthood” without having been cared for in such a way that they are capable of caring for others? (That is a lot of uses of the word “care!” I typed it and I had to reread it!) Unfortunately, Peterson doesn’t weigh in on this one. But we are there in North America, aren’t we?
Dr. Chap Clark and Fuller Youth Institute have both done a great job of chronicling what Chap calls “generations of systemic abandonment.” Where have you seen the effects of systemic abandonment in adults?
Peterson does not worry about the greater culture here, but engages us as individuals to remind us that differences are an occasion for an exchange of personal love, faith and hope.
What a great reminder! How would it change the lives of those around us if we used words like surprise, delight, interesting, joy, admiration, affection, expectation and exciting to characterize generational differences in our minds and to set our expectations for encounters with others of a different age….especially with those who are 10 to 30 years old?
(This post is inspired by chapter 5 of Like Dew Your Youth: Growing Up With Your Teenager by Eugene Peterson. Get a copy of this great little book and check back each Thursday for the next 7 weeks to become part of the discussion).