We had an all girls’ leadership gathering yesterday afternoon. It was a rather amazing time of listening, directing and reflecting. My hope was to talk about how someone figures out the ‘wise’ path to follow in life instead of going down the foolish path. Our conversation revolved around the story of one of the older teens that had gotten screamed at by an adult with rather foul language. The point of the story was that my older teen didn’t respond in kind and tried to defuse the situation. She kept her cool but the mom got more upset as my teen explained how foolish it was for her to be using the F-bomb in the conversation.
We talked over an hour about why anyone would choose to do foolish things in life. It came back to understanding how we face our insecurities in life and that too often we do crazy things to fit in, find a friend or have a feeling of significance. The reality is that going down the wrong path always ends in drama, someone getting hurt and then the ultimate path is resolving conflict which few want to face. So why would a mom with little kids, that I love big time, be screaming at anyone using the F-bomb?
We also talked about how we protect ourselves from being drawn to the dark side? This is a tough question because everyone needs friends; wants to be loved and sometimes we cast caution to the wind. So I asked another teen, which is one of our straight A types, what she does in her life when it comes to taking risks with potential new friends. She, different from the older teen, was open to taking risks with some to give them an opportunity to be exposed to right thinking and seeing that leads to doing what’s right. My other teen was really clear that she didn’t want to let someone else pull her down. So she wasn’t too interested in hanging out with someone that didn’t finish school and wasn’t working.
This was a great dialogue for the other teens to hear that didn’t necessarily fit these two outspoken gal’s perspectives. It was one of these other teens that talked about facing their insecurities in life. My straight A teen talked about not allowing people to derail her. This was an awesome conversation because it gave a great background for understanding the difference between what is real wisdom and it’s opposite being foolish. Obviously these teenage girls live in and around too many who have made foolish choices in life. They personally have experienced the impact of a parent, aunt or uncle who have been drawn into doing something totally foolish and now suffer the consequences of being in prison, living on the edge, having no job or being an outcast.
It is easy for someone older, like myself, to hide from my insecurities in life by acting like I have it all together. I too struggle with being accepted by others and succeeding in the context of my life passion. It is oh so easy to be jealous of others and too often allow the world’s system define what is success. So I am learning to pray Jesus’ prayer for his disciples. I know that Jesus didn’t say Lord please provide a warehouse of food for the entire year but give me this DAY our bread. I struggle with being content with a today’s type of focus. I want everything figured out for the year or next 5-10 years.
My wife has spent the last two mornings helping one of our families whose van continues to have problems. I’m blessed to have vehicles that are reliable and don’t die too often and if one does I still have another three that step up to help. I know that too often insecurities in life revolve around money, looks and possessions or things. It is too easy to assume that because someone has ‘things’ that they don’t have any insecurities. Yet, I know that this is so far from the truth. I don’t want any of my own kids, who are adults or my teens, think that money solves life crisis. Ultimately, both the rich and the poor will die. Only placing my faith and trust in God will help me overcome my anxieties about tomorrow’s circumstances.