Monday, November 14, 2011

To Put it Another Way: Maturity for Tweens

"You're a good man: you don't have to act like it. You're a good father; you don't have to act like it. You're the president; you don't have to act like it. You're not plain-spoken, you're not 'just folks'; do not, do not, do not act like it."
I wish I could say I was quoting some of my own work, but it would be rather dishonest. The above quote is from The West Wing, and I suppose having some context would be helpful. One of the President's advisor, his communications director (who is possibly my Fourth favourite character on the show after the Chief of Staff, Deputy Chief of Staff and the President himself) was having a rather frank discussion with him in the oval office after a flubbed speech. Trying to avoid being quoted on a subject he wished to avoid, the president had given a very non-committal, meaningless response. For those who haven't seen the show, this particular present was a Rhodes Scholar and a Nobel Laureate, so an unintelligent non-answer looks rather silly from him.

To put it another way, he was trying to be that which he was not. And there's something of a problem with that.

We are who we are. There's no way to get around it. We're angry people, happy people, hyper people, morose people, dumb people, smart people, strong people, and weak people. We come in all shapes, sizes, and colours. We can't always change who we are, and so, we have to embrace it.

Many people take that lesson though, and run in the wrong direction with it. Being a happy person is not license to spend all day bouncing off the walls, and being an angry person (sad as I am to admit it) isn't license to grab the stupid person beside you, who asks all of the really tangential questions during already boring lectures, and bash their head against the table. Embrace your traits, yes, but embrace them constructively.

I'm an angry person, at least to some extent. I have a short fuse that's a familial trait and it's aggravated by whatever disorder the state decides to call it this week. To take that constructively is to acknowledge that I am an angry person and to actively seek amicable solutions to the things that make my angry. And now, suddenly, I'm no longer angry, but instead proactive.

This is a major point to understand for the pursuit of that elusive value we call maturity. If you are a lazy person, consider establishing a method by which you can maintain a reasonable standard of living with less work... without sacrificing anything you're responsible for. If you're irresponsible, well... I'd advise developing the trait. In such a case, another quote from the same program might be of more value.

"Act as if you have faith, and faith will be given to you. To put it another way: Fake it until you make it."

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