The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, March 09, 2007

Lifewriting and Adulthood

Noting that so many people are interested in this question of adulthood, I want to go back to the beginning, and try to lay down some more thoughts.

If an adult is to be differentiated from a child, then certainly we can define an adulthood in opposition to typical childish behaviors, and in response to what we know of children’s needs. Note that having or raising children is not necessary to become an adult. And that one can certainly have them and be a child oneself.
Remember: these are just morning thoughts, regurgitated for your entertainment. None of this is written in stone.

1) Self-reliance. If you are dependant upon others for room or board, you may be a child.
2) If you think that others have to give you permission to follow dreams which are in true alignment with your values, you may be a child.
3) If you lie to avoid confrontation, you may be a child.
4) If you don’t earn enough money to support yourself and one other, you may be a child.
5) If you believe your emotional states are determined by what other people say or do, you may be a child.
6) If you believe your body is out of your control, you may be a child.
7) If you believe your past controls your future, you may be a child.
8) If you still blame your parents for ANY current conditions in your life, you may be a child.
9) If your children can manipulate you by calling you a “bad parent” you may be a child.
10) If you give to your children in expectation that they will give back to you, you may be a child.

So then, back to the Lifewriting concept. The First Step of the Hero’s Journey is Confrontation with the Challenge. And it looks to me as if the first cycle of the journey has to be to grow the #@$$! Up. Without that, you can accomplish little in the adult world.

So: those of you who have any doubts at all about this aspect of your life, commit TODAY. Yes, it can be frightening. But say that “I commit to take full responsibility for my actions and emotions. To the limit of human capacity, I take responsibility for my results. It no longer matters who my parents were or what they did. What happened to me in the past, or what happened to my ancestors might have been brutal and horrible. But if I am to have a happy life, if I am to fulfill my dreams, if my children are to walk the world safely, I must take ten steps forward for every glimpse backwards. I will strive to see the full and complete humanity in all others, and put no one else above or below me in any meaningful way. I will become an adult human being of my species, and demand that others treat me with the respect and dignity that deserves. Unless the adults take their proper place as adults, the children are not safe. And by God, children are safe with me. Period.”

Remember: you don't have to know how you'll do it. FIRST CAME THE WORD. Commitment creates miracles.

Anyone who can take that oath is a friend of mine.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

please add the following to your post of "SAYINGS OF THE JEWISH BUDDHIST", as the original version (by I don't know who) starts with:
If there is no self,
whose arthritis is this?