20 October 2011

Quote for today on self-discipline, self-reliance, and maturity

Real adulthood is the result of two qualities: self-discipline and self-reliance. The process of developing them together in balance is called maturing. – Dr. J.W. Jepson

Dr. J.W. Jepson is an ordained minister, who has served as an evangelist, a pastor, and a teacher and administrator, as well as being as being a Christian author. This quote is taken from the online book What You Should Know About Courtship, Marriage and the Family, and is part of a longer passage:
Growing up is the process of preparing for independence. But it does not happen all at once. There is no magic in your 18th or 21st birthday that automatically "zaps" you into an adult. Real adulthood is the result of the development of two qualities: self-discipline and self-reliance. The process of developing them together in balance is called maturing. The more you are able to control yourself, the less you need to be controlled by others.
While this passage is directed toward teens, there's a great deal of truth in it for people of all ages.

First, it points out the need for self-discipline. If we cannot focus on what we need to do, or what's good for us, then we will suffer in that aspect of our life. Want to get out of debt? Then you need to restrict your own spending and/or boost your income. Lose weight? Reduce your intake and/or boost your exercise.

These are simplifications, but the point is that learning to regulate your appetites and actions is a huge part of maturity.

Secondly, Jepson emphasizes that self-reliance is the other key to truly being an adult. Being able to think and do for ourselves enables us to move beyond our parents' care and rely on our own abilities to survive. Most of us escape the shelter of our parents' protection and control. However, modern American culture fosters a very dependent lifestyle, rather than the self-reliance of our forefathers (as I've discussed previously).

The good news is that, if you're reading this, you'll probably actively working on improving your self-reliance, or at least open to the idea. Keep up the good work!

Just bear in mind that you'll need to work on both your self-discipline and your self-reliance to fully realize your mature adulthood. It can be hard to do, and there is no finish line; rather, steadily improving these two qualities — the journey itself — is what makes us truly mature.

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