Where are the Adults in the Room?

It seems that holidays can cause tensions within a family that are quite unhealthy.  I was always told that fish and relatives begin to stink after three days.  Well, I certainly hope this is not your experience during the holiday season or for that matter anytime in your life.

However, we all know that disparate points of view, petty jealousies, and an abundance of alcohol can become a toxic brew even at these precious times of the year.  It is against this backdrop that many people will refer to the person who mediates and conciliates these situations as the “adult” in the room.

Well then … where are the adults in the room to mediate the current polarization in the United States?  Don’t you remember what we would call these people at times in the past: statemen … OK … statespersons.  Ombudsmen … negotiators … very clever people who realized that finding middle or even higher ground was more important than the bickering that goes nowhere.

As I think about today’s world, I am struck by the lack of adults in the room.  Today’s politics are just like what we used to call a “food fight” in the cafeteria.  Both sides have resorted to bullying tactics rather than diplomacy.

What makes me crazy are those sitting on the sidelines who are just watching these food fights and waiting for the victor to emerge.  As a result, there are no adults in the room and the factions are just throwing bigger and bigger rocks at each other.

We must learn to listen more and to show mature, sound, economic leadership.  Contrary to some who think we can just print money and get our way out of this; most adults are just like you and I who run a business.  You must plan and manage.  There are always wants and desires that are beyond sound budgets and the ability to manage the details.

Planning is no accident.  Read that again a few times.  Then add the phrase doing the right thing never goes out of style.  Mature adults plan to do the right things while always considering more things than what must be done if and when we have the time and resources to do them as well.

Adults in the room pay attention to the big things like sustainability of our life here and around the world and don’t get distracted by things we can’t change.

Perhaps this was best all summarized by the serenity prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.


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