A few days ago I read a really great article on espn.com (- not kidding).
The article is about three of the biggest prima donnas in sports. Even if you don’t follow / like sports this article is a worthwhile read.
The social commentary in the article speaks volumes about American culture. We live in a world that values youth over all else. Everyone wants to look younger, act younger, date younger – be younger! In politics this means that we elect the more youthful presidential candidate. In sports this means that when a professional athlete plays “like a kid” (especially Brett Favre) we love it. When a man being paid millions doesn’t take himself seriously and looks like an 8 year old just having a good time we love it. We value youth.
Then an athlete acts like a kid and needs to be liked so he takes steroids, or he doesn’t want to go to practice, or he wants to get paid then we say that the athlete is acting like a child. We don’t love that.
Youthfulness has its value, but its a two edged sword. If we want our athletes, celebrities, politicians to be younger then they are probably going to act younger as well…
This just reinforces the idea that we cannot allow athletes and celebrities to be our role models or to be our childrens’ role models. More on this in an upcoming post.
We have learned in Messilas Yesharim that we are born as children. Our job throughout our lives is to learn the importance of our choices and their consequences. It is a life’s work. If you care. If you don’t you’ll just be another child in a 55 year old body. Just like everybody else.
Maturity means understanding the consequences of your actions. I think it fair to say that maturity is a rare characteristic in our world. People just think about now. This explains affairs, ridiculous leveraging for risky securities and idiotic bonuses for CEOs of failing corporations. All youthfulness. No maturity.
The article concludes with this exact point. If we value youthfulness to the point that we don;t need to consider the consequences of our actions we get the economic environment in which we find ourselves right now. Walking away from million dollar debts, using government funds for million dollar bonuses – these are the acts of children in suits with fancy degrees. But they have not grown up and they might never grow up. No Maturity.
Our job is to grow up, once we do the world can have the change and hope that we are looking for. Otherwise we are just the kid caught with his hands in the cookie jar asking for a cookie.