A Bodey in Motion

Building momentum, one step at a time

Top Posts – Third Quarter 2012

Only three more months to go in 2012. Since the last time we did this, I went to Nashville and got trained as a financial coach by some seriously talented people. We started a new round of FPU (It’s only 9 weeks now, you should check it out). I took a week off for vacation, and now we’re back to your regularly scheduled blog.

Here are the top five posts from the last three months:

  • Kick the Ends Out – The two most irresponsible concepts propagated in the modern era.

October 9, 2012 Posted by | Top Posts | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Top Posts – Third Quarter 2012

Kick the Ends Out

As a man beginning the second half of his life, and as the father of young children, I’ve come face to face with the fact that some of the things I’ve been led to believe and live simply aren’t true. A couple of concepts have become a part of our culture in the last century and it’s time to call them what they are: Irresponsible.

Both adolescence and retirement have become twisted bookends on what should be a responsible and productive life. They make living a lot like preparing porridge for Goldilocks. This one is too young. This one is too old. You can’t be trusted with responsibility and freedom unless your age is juuuust right.

…we view young people through a lens that didn’t exist back then – adolescence – a relatively modern invention that establishes teen years as a moratorium on responsibility and prolongs childhood indefinitely. When a young man is passive and irresponsible, he greatly limits his freedoms, opportunities, and successes.

Stephen & Alex Kendrick, The Resolution for Men

My son will be 11 years old soon. I’m faced with the fact that in five years, he could be learning to drive a car. In ten years, he could be ready to be completely out from under my care and guidance. How can I guarantee that he’ll be ready for these challenges, and so much more? By having vision, and remembering the big goal when it comes to his life. I’m raising a young man, not an older boy.

Adolescence tells us that we need to protect our growing children from the risks and dangers of life before they’re ready for them. The problem is, that as we add more and more things to the ‘unacceptable risk’ pile, we necessarily cut our children off from the opportunities and rewards that come with those risks. Our spirit of fear keeps them from achieving their full potential. Our young men and women are capable of so much more, and we should be encouraging them and guiding them to assess and accept risks.

In addition to paying the bills, funding education, paying down debt, we also have the stress of squeezing out the funds to maximize our pension plans so we can quit working as early as possible. In reality, retirement is a twentieth-century phenomenon that has added stress to our lives. And it starts early.

Russ Crosson, The Truth About Money Lies

In 24 years, I will be 65 years old. That’s become a magic number in our society. Retirement. When you get there, you’ve worked long enough. You’ve paid your dues. It’s time to slow down and enjoy the good life. That’s what we’re told.

I don’t understand that. You’ve spent decades amassing skills and knowledge about your field. You’ve created a network of people whose expertise you can call on. All of that doesn’t become obsolete just because you’ve turned a certain age. What does the “good life” have that makes it worth leaving all of that investment behind?

This is a rejection of long-term vision and responsibility. Don’t spend every day struggling at a job that you don’t even like because they pay is great and you can quit sooner. Look further than that. Your time is limited and your life is worth more. Seek out work that fills you with purpose, and it will offer you more life than the “good life” of retirement could ever weakly prop up.

George Washington was appointed an official surveyor at the age of 17, and was paid well for it.

Colonel Sanders founded the Kentucky Fried Chicken national chain after opening the first store at the age of 65.

Don’t let the ends of life go to waste. Kick out the stops. Raise your children to be responsible risk takers early. Look to your future with purpose and a plan. Start strong, finish stronger.

Questions: Do you think adolescence is good for children? How are you encouraging your kids to be more responsible? Are you planning to retire some day? Do you have a plan for those remaining years?

August 27, 2012 Posted by | Past and Future | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Meandering Into Adulthood

That's probably more winding than meandering, but it'll do.

When I was little, I remember looking up to the adults in and around my life. They all seemed to know what they were doing. If it was broken, they could fix it. They had the answer to almost any question, and when they didn’t know they were ready to show you how you could go find out.

I have to confess, as a man in his early forties, I’ve never been able to see myself as one of those adults. I completely lack that sense of certainty. My ability to fix a broken toy is fairly limited. It surprises me when others seek me out for wisdom or advice. I may appear to be a grown man, but inside is an unsure teenager trying to convince everyone that he’s really not an unremarkable screw-up.

I can’t figure it out. Why does my head start from that small, weak place in my past, rather than the larger place built on my experience and success? Why don’t I automatically see myself as an adult? Does everyone suffer in the same way? Maybe, but that doesn’t make it acceptable.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

1 Corinthians 13:11

I think the problem is how we’ve abused the word adult. It no longer paints a clear picture of the attributes and responsibilities that make up what being an adult is. Think about the things we associate the word with.

See, because I’m an adult, I can go down to the adult bookstore and purchase some adult entertainment to enjoy while I consume an adult beverage. Later in life I can move into an adult community and participate in an active adult lifestyle.

None of those things has anything to do with being a responsible adult. All of them could actually be classified as childish activities. (Yes, even retirement communities. Don’t get me started.)

You also don’t magically become an adult by earning a degree, holding down a job, getting married, or having children. I’ve done all of those things, and you could still find me up all night playing video games while my kids get tucked into bed without me. I’ve seen grown men play beer pong in the garage while their wives had to watch the kids and grill the burgers for everyone in the backyard. These aren’t the acts of adults.

Children do what feels good. Adults devise a plan and follow it.

– Dave Ramsey

We need to be presented with a brighter dividing line between adolescence and adulthood. Young men and women need mentors and leaders to teach the clear goals they (and we) should be striving for to become amazing adults. They need a target off in the distance that they’re eventually heading for, even if the path isn’t direct.

Because life is wonderfully messy. We curve this way and that as we encounter new ideas and experiences, and that’s a good thing. Our individual pains and joys make us uniquely us. Yet, we need that target, that flag waving high off in the distance, to know when we’ve curved too far in the opposite direction. We need it so we know what progress in the right direction looks like and to know when we’ve arrived.

So, this is my short list, representing the ground that my flag in the distance is planted in.

  • Adults are proactive. They are not passive bystanders.
  • Adults accept responsibility. They interact with others directly and with honesty.
  • Adults lead with courage. They recognize and embrace their influence.
  • Adults live for a greater reward. They sacrifice today for an incredible tomorrow.

What’s missing? What would you add? What makes you an adult?

[image from publicdomainpictures.net]

June 4, 2012 Posted by | Past and Future | , , , , , , | 5 Comments