Something that I am coming to realize, quite rapidly, is that I’m getting older. I didn’t say old, although I have been caught saying I’m old before. But, I am definitely beginning to encounter more people that are younger than me on a more regular basis. I’m growing up!
With that being true, it means that I am beginning to enter a different phase of my life. I have more experience, I have more understanding of the world, I am more skilled at certain things than I was before. I have learned an amount of life that has created a level of ability that I can regularly lean on and utilize to make me a better leader, a better communicator, a better person.
And that awareness ushers in with it a fine line that all people have to walk between a healthy confidence in personal ability and an incongruent alignment of arrogance that would lead to destruction. A confidence that comes from a life of recognizing how God has made a person or an arrogance that comes from thinking that it was all about what I did to accomplish certain things.
So, here are three truths to growing up well that every 20-something should consider and every not 20-something should consider about them so that we can all do it well.
Three Truths to Help You Grow Up Well:
1. We are CAPABLE.
The “IN” crowd needs to begin to believe that we possess an ability to go and do great things. Things that have never been accomplished before. Cures that have never been dreamed. Acceptance that has never been fathomed. Far off realities that were only dreamed before can become very real realities because of what we are capable of. My generation has been told this for the entirety of our lives, but it’s time that we start believing that it is true.
The “AROUND” crowd needs to believe that we can do the job. I have witnessed individuals that were capable of leading that have been turned away because another, older leader was unwilling to believe that another person was coming along that could do the job. They might do it differently, but they can get the job done. This crowd needs to believe that there are younger leaders, rising up that CAN get the job done.
2. We are CREATIVE.
The “IN” crowd needs to recognize that while we might be able to dream up all kinds of new ideas and new ways to do things, just because you can dream it, doesn’t mean that it was meant for right now. Lots of things that we do that are “tradition” need to change. There are many things that organizations, groups, and churches do that should change. But, not everybody operates at the breakneck speed that we do. Especially when it comes to change. Be ready to give grace the next time you come up with your revolutionary idea to change the whole thing.
The “AROUND” crowd needs to begin believing that more of these ideas aren’t as bad as they originally seem. The stereotype that gets affirmed so often is that nobody likes change so change must be completely bad. But, the reality is, in most cases, when there is a group of people that see a need for change, it is typically the younger people that are willing to try and work it out to a solution. The stereotype that doesn’t get affirmed enough is the recognition that, usually, there is more grace to alter some of the changes than what is perceived. Give more grace the next time change is proposed.
3. We aren’t COMPLETE.
The “IN” crowd needs to start by working to grow up. What I didn’t say was start acting like all the old people. What I did say is that they need to start applying discipline and responsibility in our lives. If you are a person that is in a place to make changes, make sure to do everything you can to bring everyone along. If there is a group that needs certain things to happen in order to walk through change well, then do everything you can to put those things in place. Show them that you aren’t young.
At the same time, we need to start recognizing that we aren’t done yet. We still have some years to go (God-willing). Because this is true, we are going to make mistakes; juvenile mistakes. Mistakes that young guys and young gals make. There is not getting around the fact that I am 27 and my grand parents are in their 60′s. That’s the reality. Sure, try not to make as many of them, but be willing to surrender the idea that you are going to be perfect at 27. You won’t be.
The “AROUND” crowd needs to hold us to a higher standard but be gracious when we don’t meet it. The reality is that we are still growing up. We are still learning and developing our personal strategies and best practices to life. Because of this, we are going to need people who will push us to be creative and live up to our capability. Push us to strive for more every chance you get.
At the same time that you push us, keep it in the front of your mind that we will fall sometimes and will need someone to pick us up. We will constantly need people in our lives that are older and more experienced that will continue to pick us up and dust us off and remind us that we are capable, creative and not quite complete yet. But don’t let this be a thing that you hold over us. We need encouragement and exhortation, not an escavaction team to wipe us and our self-esteem off the face of the planet. With gentle hands, give us some grace.