Posts Tagged ‘maturity’

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).

 “Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.”       George Orwell

What if the much-maligned “generation gap” were a gift instead of a curse? What if every age had gifts and graces and unique abilities that would go unseen without the catalyst of another generation to bring them to full maturity? What if wrestling through the differences between the ages were not only part of their discipleship, but our own?

Peterson encourages us to look at Joel 2:28 and I John 2:13. What differences do the Biblical authors highlight? Can we draw any implications from this?

Avoiding the ditch of abdication, self-deprecation and withdrawal, while conversely avoiding the ditch of pontification and bluster, those of us who are older are challenged to accept our calling as adults in this time and place in history.

What does that mean? For one thing, it means coming to terms with intimacy. We have had the opportunity to move past the self-doubt and uncertainty of adolescence. We have had the opportunity to risk being vulnerable and to become genuinely close with another. One of the great questions of adolescence is one of belonging and intimacy. Who loves me/who do I love? “The parent generation has the obligation first to achieve and then to demonstrate intimacy – to show that it is possible and to show what it looks like.” (p.43)

My experience in youth ministry in a rapidly changing culture tells me that this issue is one of the great obstacles to successfully reaching adolescents. We as adults often have no idea of what true intimacy is and therefore are unable to model it. Is that too harsh an indictment? Where have you seen true intimacy modeled in a way that is winsome to all ages? How do you reach across the “generation gap?”

My apologies for the late update this week.

(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).