So, we’ve come to the end of another year with the usual good, bad and ugly. I was reminded of all three in my recent trip north.
My daughter lives in an apartment complex with various nationalities, plus the usual Australians. Living in such close proximity with others and the windows always open, being Queensland, reading a book on the patio was an education. From one family came the festive sounds of family and Christmas. That was encouraging. From an other came the constant sound of argument. It seemed to be the way this family operated.
My nosey eavesdropping was most disturbed by an Australian couple in their late thirties and mid forties. They seemed without family connection and responsibility. The volume of their “discussions’ made it difficult to miss – even if I wanted to. What disturbed me was that the discussions had a “teenage” quality in terms of the maturity and depth. The self obsession and “me” focused tone of the conversation seemed strange coming from people of their age. The more I look around me the more I see this particular way of behaving.
The American poet Robert Bly wrote about this phenomena in 1996 in his “Sibling Society”. This book reflected on the inability of many people to mature emotionally. Many people are trying to live their lives as 26 year olds for as long as they can. Living without commitment and responsibility. Of course, there are many, many young people growing and maturing wisely. I see them in my classes every week.
However, my reflection as we come to the end of another year, is that as a society, we are, and will continue to, pay dearly for our failure to grow up. Our mental health, our family stability and social fabric requires people who grow stronger and mature, and who also develop an “other” centredness that our sibling society often fails to develop. Care for others, and the ability to see beyond one’s own needs is crucial for a healthy society.
May you all have a great new year, and my prayer is that we will through word and example make a real difference to the world in which we live. That is what our King calls us to.