It is not my blog mission to share my wisdom—(as if I had some to share.) It is my intent to pass along what I’m learning or coming to understand. I am not the focus—what I’m learning is of value only if it becomes value to you. It is not my intent to convince you to think or believe like me. A maven is a person who has discovered something of value that must be shared—if I know the short cut to the bathroom at Staples or Kohls, I want to let you in on the secret. Not everyone who reads any given blog needs a bathroom, so if my discovery is helpful, I’m glad, someone else may find resources in something else I write or read.
Whether you consciously know this or not, your brain constantly searches for what will help you to survive and/or thrive. With a pastor-teacher heart, I’m alert to survival/thrive tools.
At our website (https://www.deanbenton.org/ricochet) is a picture of the books I’m currently reading that are providing value that I think may be of value to you. I’m sharing the writer’s wisdom/knowledge/journey/insight because they have impressed me as a survival/thrival tool.
“We are living in an America of perpetual adolescence. Our kids simply don’t know what an adult is anymore—or how to become one. Many don’t see a reason even to try. Perhaps more problematic, the older generations have forgotten that we need to plan to teach them.” (Senator Ben Sasse in his 2017 book, The Vanishing American Adult.)
It is really the work of parents, but that is not happening. Absence of fathers in the home makes this difficult. It cannot only happen in classrooms. Over the past 20 years, I have sensed this to be true, so we have talked about conference grounds, retreat centers, ranches, farms, academies where character can be built and maturity reached. Sasse lists habits, tools, experiences that build and maintain character.
The ultimate goal is a life well lived. Our personal investments into that possibility is character and maturity. Senator Ben Sasse has given me tools I had not examined to build character. He says,
“Melissa and I have a working theory of how to raise our own kids—in a way that gives them a fighting chance to become productive adults—and to inculcate the values and beliefs that were a the heart of the American experience since our founding and make life worth living.” (page 8)
- Overcome peer culture and wrestle with other life stages.
Discover the body—its potential and its frailty, and the many diverse stages of life that lie ahead—by breaking free of the tyranny of one generation.
2. Work hard.
Develop a work ethic. Hard work, manual labor, working outdoors—on a farm, say, or a ranch—is an education in itself. The goal is to learn the habits that lead to the discovery of meaning in work. Your aim is to become free to work with delight, rather than seeking to be free from work.
3. Resist Consumption
Consumption is not the key to happiness; production is.
Embrace limited consumption. “Luxury is the bane of republics.” …limit your desires and how to find satisfaction and gratitude in the meaning of a limited set of true needs.
4. Travel to experience the difference between “need” and “want.”
Learn how to travel and to travel light. To understand the difference between a need and want, you need to know what it’s like to subsist. …essential to experience other cultures so you can look back at yours. Literature is a key way to gain that perspective, but the best way to shock open young eyes is to travel.
5. Become truly literate
Learn how to read and decide what to read.
Senator Ben Sasse, The Vanishing American Adult, ©2017 (St Martin’s Press) pages 86-87. (A NYT best seller. Used books available from Amazon & others.)
The intentional building of character is also a dimension of what the New Testament calls “making disciples.” To be discipled does not only mean to prepare people to live in heaven, but to thrive as pilgrims and Kingdom representatives in the earthly realm. I dig through this information and try to calculate how my life would be different had I been able to follow these habit-suggestions all the way to embedding them. I am asking which one is where I need to work on in this season to develop my character.
Someone—mentors, churches, schools, academies and parents—must catch the vision of the values for which our ancestors fought and teach the next generation to treasure our history: for what it provides and what its sins, mistakes, errors and horrors teach us. And! how to merge the best from other cultures and heritages which will expand our own.
©2019 D. Dean Benton Writer, wonderer
Questions and comments welcomed.