DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

You can never leave this life alive.

Written by: on May 19, 2019

The natural instinct of any human being is to avoid risk and seeking safety but may not necessarily be the best approach to life, life is prone dangers and risks of different kinds and we have to adapt and learn how to deal with adversity. The way to learn is by being exposed to such dangers and risks in order to learn how to deal with them. Childhood and youth should provide a safe place to get these important lessons with the benefit of support of adults before maturing into adulthood when you’ve learnt enough to be on your own. Learning is a life-long process and for the most part depends on what you’re exposed to, the more exposed we are to circumstances, the more we learn about the circumstance. Taking an approach in life of avoiding risks does not help but denies you the opportunity to learn. Risk taking and being exposed to risk is the best infrastructure for learning as opposed to keeping safe. The statement ‘you never leave this life alive’ was made by a speaker in emphasizing the importance of taking risks and overcoming fear because trying to keep safe is futile and counterproductive because you cannot avoid risks and dangers in life.

 

The book The Coddling of the American Mind[1], highlights three untruths that have been thought and adopted in the American society that are counterproductive namely: the untruth of fragility that what doesn’t kill you makes you weaker; the untruth of emotional reasoning that always trust your feelings; and the untruth of us versus them that life is a battle between good people and evil people.[2] Greg and Jonathan points to a generation that is growing with this untruths that are being perpetuated in college schools and at home. The authors write in depth on these untruths and give advice on how to overcome them. While the authors write more about America, the same is happening across the world due to globalization and the prominent place that America stands in relation to other countries. Greg and Jonathan advices that you’ll ultimately be better doing the opposite which is:

“Seeking out challenges (rather than eliminating or avoiding everything that “feels unsafe”), freeing yourself from cognitive distortions (rather than always trusting your initial feelings), and taking a generous view of other people, and looking for nuance (rather than assuming the worst about people within a simplistic us-versus-them morality).”[3]

 

Exposure to the challenges provides the infrastructure for developing the skills for handling similar situations as opposed to the practice of safetyism[4] which, is a culture that allows the concept of ,safety’ to creep so far that it equates emotional discomfort to physical danger. It’s a culture that encourages people to protect one another from the very experiences that are embedded in daily life that enable them to be strong and healthy.[5] The progressive activist Vans Jones is quoted as opposing this safetyism and encouraging students in colleges to be use the opponents ideas and arguments to make yourself stronger rather than being violently reactive or avoiding them[6]. Jones advocates for students to be progressive and give a great advice stating that rather than being safe ideologically and emotionally, the students should “put on some boots and know how to deal with adversity”, you don’t remove the weights from the gym because that’s the whole point of the gym[7].

The untruths have been primarily attributed to six interacting threads namely; rising political polarization and increasing cross-party animosity; rising levels of teen anxiety and depression; changes in parenting practices; the decline of free play; the growth of campus bureaucracy; and a rising passion for justice in response to major national events, combined with changing ideas of what justice requires. The tragedy of the results of trying to address these issues is that it was all well intentioned but it has led to these untruths. The authors ultimately give advice on how to address these untruths and help to raise a generation that embraces unfragility, is ready to think critically and that is not only tolerant of opposing ideologies but also takes a generous view of other people.

 

There’s a lot of learning from Greg’s and Jonathan’s book and its an eye opener for me as a parent and and as a leader that is presiding over many schools and programs that are directly working to empower children from vulnerable backgrounds and their families. While these children are exposed to relatively more risks and dangers in the slums and other marginalized areas and these untruths may not directly affect them, its noteworthy that awareness that these adverse conditions provide a framework for developing life skills is valuable to me as a leader. I will endeavor to have our programs reviewed to ensure that they’re supportive of developing these children and youth to be wiser adults that can develop wiser societies.

[1] Greg Lukianoff & Jonathan Haidt. The Coddling Of The American Mind: How Good Intentions And Bad Ideas Are setting Up A Generation For Failure. Penguin Books. September 4, 2018. London, UK.

[2] Ibid,…pg 4

[3] Ibid,…pg 14

[4] Ibid,…pg 29

[5] Ibid,….pg 30

[6] Ibid,….pg 95

[7] Ibid,….pg 97

About the Author

mm

Wallace Kamau

Wallace is a believer in Christ, Married to Mary Kamau (Founder and Executive Director of Missions of Hope International) and father to 3 Wonderful children, Imani Kamau (Graduate student at London School of Economics, UK), Victory Kamau (Undergraduate student at Portland state University, Oregon, USA) and David Kamau ( Grade student at Rosslyn Academy). Founder and Director, Missions of Hope International (www.mohiafrica.org), CPA, BAchelor of Commerce (Accounting) from University of Nairobi, Masters of Arts (Leadership) from Pan African Christian University.

3 responses to “You can never leave this life alive.”

  1. mm Mary Mims says:

    Wallace, great post. I thought this book was eye-opening as well but I agree that it is not really directed toward those in poverty. Only those with the luxury of money are able to practice being safe. However, those who are experiencing poverty, take often take too much risk and do not practice being safe enough.

  2. Thank Mary for your comments, I guess every demographic grouping have their unique challenges that they grapple with. As leaders, we’ve to ask God to help us discern the unique challenges and appropriately develop applicable strategies to empower communities to solve their problems.

  3. mm John Muhanji says:

    Thank Wallace for your post. the book is truly an eye-opener to many us as parents and leaders in our communities. It has raised up issues to be aware and challenging even the academia community. we are living in the world full of untruthfulness which has been building in covering the truth from a long time. It is as if we have now ratified untruthfulness to be truth.

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