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Reality Check

Like any “younger generation” before them, this group has often been lumped together and what has been true for a few has been branded on all. No group of people is ever “all” that someone may say about them either good or bad.  Sadly, we measure an entire segment of people based on a few that are on news stories for bad deeds or some that were recognized for acts worthy of commendation. Both are excessive generalizations.

So many things contribute to a generation’s primary characteristics.  As you would expect, no generation is born with the same mindset.  Life experiences for each person molds them into the adults that they will be.  Actually, it is not the events (good or tragic) that determine the personality.  Rather, it is the character of the person that uses the marvelous moments and the heart-breaking incidents as a learning opportunity.  Those that learn well become more caring, more observant, and more mature following a “rude intrusion” of sorrow.  And, they enjoy the rewards that come with using life’s opportunities well.  So, they quickly demonstrate the discipline to repeat those things that bring satisfaction, accomplishment, and build a sense of confidence.

In June 2017, John Roberts, Chief Justice of the United States, gave the commencement address at his son’s graduation from middle school. (Note, not Yale or Harvard…but middle school.) Here is an excerpt from his speech.

“From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either. And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then, your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope you’ll be ignored so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion. Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.”   (Copied).

Brave men rejoice in adversity, just as brave soldiers triumph in war. Lucius Annaeus Seneca

The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most. I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so ready to enjoy with me the sunshine of my prosperity. Ulysses S. Grant

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (King Solomon  Proverbs 17:17).   I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Phil. 4:12-13).