We live in times where the inclination to remedy a fall far outweighs any rationale to prevent the fall from happening. We’ll willingly encourage others towards intoxicants or unhealthy distractions, and then form support groups to help them out of that addictive state, while refusing to condemn the bad advice we gave in the first place. Accountability is only celebrated if it doesn’t disrupt the oblivion of the masses. Those that threaten such disruption are spurned for being callous, cruel, or arrogant, often accused of thinking that they’re better than everyone else. In short, we condone that which reflects our own weaknesses not because we believe in its wholesomeness, but because we feel more human in recognising the shared weakness in others. More than this, it makes us feel less inferior when we believe that we share shortcomings with others, rather than falling short of expectation by our solitary selves alone.
It’s not about being better than everyone else any more. These days, it’s simply about not being worse. There was a time in human history that I imagine the focus to have been on competing to excel in human endeavours. People would have exerted themselves to achieve noble goals that served as inspiration to others to want to rise up and pursue even greater heights. It’s quite different today. Today, it seems as if we compete to see who is able to dominate through any means possible, where the level of domination is celebrated, without any concern for the means or methods that achieved such domination, except where those means and methods threaten our ability to actively compete.
I’ve been fascinated by the term ‘fully formed adults’ ever since I first read it a few years ago, but my fascination quickly turns to disgust as I look around and struggle to find specimens that exhibit such qualities. Semi formed adults raise calloused and contaminated children. Children that grow up under semi formed adults face trials and hardships that are entirely avoidable, and fully surmountable, but they often shy away from the challenge of rising above because when they raise their gaze looking for a role model to guide them, they see nothing but more contamination of a society that is full of semi formed adults. It’s therefore little wonder why they themselves succumb to the same cycle.
Regardless of how harsh our childhood may have been, we all reach a point of independence in life where we are able to feed or break the cycles that raised us. Critical thought is spurned as rebellion and disrespect because semi formed adults lack the skills and self-worth to effectively navigate their way through critical thought processes. The stigma associated with failure is so harsh that even in the face of absolute failure we’ll find a euphemism to describe our sorry state. Anything is better than admitting failure. It’s this same insincere and tainted social setting that continues to lay down a path of strife and distraction for children looking for meaning and purpose in life.
In the absence of a critical mass of fully formed adults, those that try to break the cycles are placed with a burden that is tenfold relative to the effort that would be needed to raise a balanced and confident child. It’s a constant struggle of trying to convince or influence the child towards a wholesome standard while they are bombarded with the unhealthy standard of the semi formed adults that they’re surrounded with. Isolation from such a malformed society is not an option. When we disengage, we lose the right to judge, criticise, or cry foul.
We need to stop raising children. We need to start raising adults. This mindset that has contaminated the world in recent centuries that childhood must be enjoyed with abandon so that we can start being adults when we reach a certain age needs to be abandoned. This distinction between childhood and adult life is misguided. It’s not about age, it’s about awareness and accountability. We should expect greater accountability as we progress through the stages of self-awareness and awareness of our surroundings. The same way we expect a child to stop wetting the bed once they have been taught the value of hygiene and the skill of using the toilet, we should continue to hold them to such levels of accountability in action and behaviour as they continue to acquire new skills.
But adults that had a contaminated childhood often project those regrets on the children under their care. Instead of raising the standard against which they raise their children, they embellish the esteem of the child with gestures that convince them, the adults, that they’re doing a better job than the raising that created the flaws that they despise about themselves.
The common undertone and theme in society these days is one of demand, but little supply. We’re all demanding to be recognised for the struggles of our lives, and to be judged based on the gravity of those struggles, while remaining entirely oblivious to the fact that we are merely spawning another generation of victims that will take our efforts and raise it further. Their demands will be ever more destructive and selfish, and the erosion of society that we universally lament will continue on its downward spiral until a group of inspired young souls will look upon the generations that came before them with a sense of contempt and disbelief. The inheritance of wholesomeness that should have been passed down will be absent, and in such total absence they may finally resolve to correct the path that they’re on, rather than continuing the toxic cycle in search of affirmations and validations for experiences that hold no sway over the next generation.
Adults that still place their insecurities and weaknesses before the well being of those that look up to them deserve a special kind of scorn. We all have the ability and the capacity to actively reflect on how we are perceived by others so that we can take steps to embellish our images in ways that would earn us praise. This is regardless of upbringing or value system. It is entirely based on who we wish to view us admiringly, and how we wish to feel about their gaze on us. We therefore cannot argue that such reflection in the betterment of our characters and moral assets is impossible simply because we were raised by a calloused or contaminated society. The resolve and courage exists for us to change the way we live our lives. The motivation however, is lacking, because it is significantly easier to fulfil an expectation of a consumerist society than it is to raise the expectations of the next generation.