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Immaturity, Pain Tolerance and the Quick Fix

11September2012

Every year that there is a Presidential election I find myself hiding from the television, from sound bytes and vitriolic rhetoric that is spammed into our homes from those who are pro-him or con-him. Friends find themselves on opposite sides of invisible fences arguing over who is more moral, more right, more intelligent, more capable of fixing all of our problems in this country. Promises are made to the people and we wonder “if” it is even possible to make such promises and be able to make good on them. Anxiety runs high as is expressed these days by the spewing of hurtful words on such venues as twitter and facebook. Some even plead to their “friends” to stop the madness and go back to sharing pictures of their beautiful babies and furry puppies. 

What we need in a leader is someone who is not afraid to make the tough decisions, that will be able to handle the pain of leadership with all of its pressures and very little glory, that will surround himself with mature, responsible advisors who will push him to be mature and responsible.  We need someone who understands that the problems and issues we have as a country, as communities, as the world, will not be fixed overnight as they were not created overnight. Who will that be? Will it be the one that gets elected? Only time will answer that question.

As parents, teachers, community leaders, disciples it is incredibly important that have those same qualities because immaturity, pain intolerance and a quick fix mentality only perpetuate the cycles of dysfunction, societal regression and more pain. Let me use the family as an example (though this applies to church, work places, you name it). As parents we are the leaders of our family. When anxiety rises in the midst of the family unit how do we handle that pain? How do we alleviate it for the moment? (Go out and buy a bunch of stuff we don’t need? Go out and spend too money on dinner when we could cook at home? Get angry and lose control and blame one another rather than formulating a plan to recover? Act out in the million ways there are to act out?) How do we manage our children when anxiety wracks their little minds and hearts? (Give in to them and buy them a new gaming system even though we cannot afford it? Allow them to disrespect us as parents because we know in our hearts that somehow we’ve failed to give them everything they’ve ever wanted? Let them be as immature as they want to be?) 

In our best moments we would say a resounding “no!” In our best moments we understand how our anxiety and immaturity can take over in crisis moments, in high anxiety situations. But it is in our worst moments that we need to put our principles into action, hard thing though because our brains kick in to survival mode. Focusing on the long term goals we have set up for our families, our country, our world can keep leaders and parents moving in the forward direction.  Keeping our eyes on the prize, as they say, can motivate parents and leaders to stay strong in the middle of anxious moments, rather than give in to the pain that sets us back (financially, emotionally, spiritually). Knowing that our goals will take a very long time to achieve can help us to not give in to a quick fix mentality! Nothing worth having happens quickly or easily.  

So then, in this election time, are you looking for maturity in your candidate?

In your family life, are working on your maturity as a parent leader?

In your church are you focused on the long term rather than the immediate?

In your workplace are you handling the pain of the squeakiest wheel and not giving in to that noise?

May God bless our efforts to handle pain and to move toward a greater maturity for the sake of the human family.

ACL@CCD

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