Life Has Losers, and You May Be One

Schools and sports may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. After you enter the adult world, do not expect a participation award just for showing up. The real world does not function that way. The things that happen in the kid world do not often bear any resemblance to the life of an adult.

In my daughter’s school, if she fails a test, she can retest. Sometimes she can take it more than twice. When my son played little league baseball, he got a trophy, though they were among the worst teams in the league. Our school system changed its letter grade formula to ten-point increments. You can score a 91 and get an A. If your goal is self-esteem, the bar is easier than ever to hit.

These “kid perks” do not carry over to your grown-up life. If you don’t properly prepare for the challenges of being a grown-up, you will have more failures than you ever imagined. It does not mean your mistakes will render you hopeless. You can mess up as an adult and live to tell about it, but you’ll suffer the effects. Of course, there some consequences that will last the rest of your life.

The way to tell how well you are ready to be an adult is by assessing how you’re doing today. You will not be remarkably mature as an adult if you’re not already mature as a teen. Maturity is not an age but a disposition of the heart. The good news is that you don’t need to wait until you’re old to be mature. The path to maturity begins when you get on it.

Think of your teen years like a laboratory where you get to try, fail, try again, and succeed a few times. After you get success down to a pattern, rather than sporadic episodes, you will be in the right position for adulthood. If adulthood calls and you’re not ready, it will come anyway. And you will either sink or swim.

Time to Reflect

1. What does it mean to prepare for adulthood? Do you know how to do that?

2. Who’s preparing you for adulthood? What are your plans?