By Keith Lee, Associate Pastor
According to a study by IQuanti, based on Google searches, the top resolutions of 2017 were (in order of popularity): to get healthy, to get organized, to live life to the fullest, to learn new hobbies, spend less and save, to travel, and to read more. This list is vastly different from those made at the turn of twentieth century. The emphasis then was on virtue rather than performance or self-actualization. For example, people strived for inner peace, prudence in finances, patience for family and friends, forgiveness, and thoughtful speech and action.
There was a definite shift from emphasizing inner values like virtue and character to those that seek to express outer personal traits like achievement and health. In Quiet: The Power of Introverts the author, Susan Cain, observes a shift in characterization of an American ideal person. “Before the industrial revolution,” she writes, “American self-help books extolled character.” But books like How to Win Friends and Influence People placed personality above all. Her theory is that extroverts were placed above introverts in conscience of mainstream culture. Although I do not ascribe to all of her arguments (because both extroverts and introverts can develop deep character), I see that inner qualities like contemplation, silence, patience and long-suffering seemed to be absent in everyday discussion.
I want to urge parents to consider starting the new year with goals in deepening character and virtue. Also, to help foster an environment in the home to involve your children in developing their inner life as important ideals to pursue for 2018. I, as a partner in spiritual education of your children, will strive to bring awareness to topic at hand. As the apostle Paul reminded the church in Galatia, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
Happy New Year!