Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Live like there's no tomorrow

A friend is challenged these days by his teenage daughter as she pushes the envelop. She's breaking rules, defying direction and generally stressing both mom and dad as they try to keep her safe. She's sure she knows better and is very angry when she gets caught in lies.
As I watch the pushing and pulling, I am reminded of all the things I was told at that age. "There are consequences for what you do." "Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn't mean you should." "Don't be so egocentric." (I had to look that word up.) "If you want to be treated as an adult, you have to be responsible and be accountable for your actions." "The choices you make affect everyone around you."
I'm not sure how I got through those adolescent years without hurting myself or someone around me. I really wanted to live like there was no tomorrow. Very short sighted with a very narrow view of the impact of what I was doing. Living by impulse. That's not so unusual for adolescents.
As I look back over the things I was told as a youth, they still apply. There are consequences for what we do. Be careful who you follow. Don't be egocentric. If you want your freedom, it comes with responsibility and accountability. The decisions we make very often affect more than just ourselves. Those are solid values.
It's about seeing beyond your little fenced in yard and beyond what feels good today. There are other people around you. There are days ahead. We need to look ahead. We need to plan ahead.
We see a lot of adolescent behavior throughout our society and a lot of it comes from adults. Banking institutions create "products" to quickly make a buck. Many politicians make decisions based primarily on pole numbers. Many corporations make decisions primarily to get their stock prices up. As individuals we spend our money as fast as, sometimes faster than, it is coming in. No tomorrow - it feels good today. Very adolescent behavior.
Time to be grown up.

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