Where Have All the Grown-Ups Gone?

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

In the course of these conversations, a particular phrase cropped up several times. “We could use a few grown-ups in office,” or some variation on that. Later, I pondered that sentiment and expression. What did my friends and colleagues mean? It sounded as if the song of the ’60s, “Where have the flowers gone?” had been replaced with “Where have all the grown-ups gone?” It seems that after so many years of being exhorted to “get in touch with our inner child,” some long for people who are in touch with the “inner grown-up!”What does the hope for a few good grown-ups mean and say about us? Three things (sorry, it’s the way preachers think, in threes) suggest themselves as among the defining qualities of that possibly endangered species known as the grown-up.

First, grown-ups understand, “It’s not about you.” It is about something bigger than you. It is about a larger purpose or mission, project or vision. It is about the work. It is about a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. “It’s not about you.” While religious people think of sin in a variety of ways, one enduring definition of “sin” is our human tendency to mistake ourselves for the center of the world. No, say all the great religions, there is another, a greater reality impinging upon us and calling to us. There is that before which awe, reverence and self-giving are the right response. It’s not about you.

Read the rest.

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