|Good Morning Everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “Think for yourself”
Our Bible verse for today: “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but (He has given us a spirit) of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline (abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control).” 2 Timothy 1:7 (The Amplified Bible)
Our thought for today: “Be antifragile.”
In their book “The Coddling of the American Mind”, Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt make the case that in the last decades parents and colleges have produced a generation of young people who see themselves as being fragile and easily hurt. This has happened because parents and educators have worked hard to protect them from every conceivable risk, to the point of overprotecting them. The most extreme way in which we see this sense of fragility being manifested, is in the way those students believe that they should be protected from speech and ideas that express beliefs different from their own. The students have been taught that such speech is hateful and damaging, the equivalent of physical violence against them, and they should therefore be protected from it.
This is how college campuses have ended up with an oppressive “cancel culture” that shuts out and shuts down any speech that is in any way contrary to what students want to hear. It’s where the safe-space echo chamber concept came from. And it has led to acts of violent protest that include rioting, damaging property, and even physically attacking opponents.
Lukianoff and Haidt make the case that we have to counter this growing sense of emotional fragility in the younger generation by teaching instead “antifragility”. We have to teach them how to be emotionally strong. Surprisingly, former President Barak Obama and various former members of his administration have been very vocal about the need to teach “antifragility”. One of his closest advisors, Van Jones, was recently quoted making this statement to college students:
“I don’t want you to be safe ideologically. I don’t want you to be safe emotionally. I want you to be strong. That’s different. I’m not going to pave the jungle for you. Put on some boots, and learn how to deal with adversity. I’m not going to take the weights out of the gym; that’s the whole point of the gym. This (college) is the gym.”
You may remember from a previous devotional that I said sometimes we conservatives are equally guilty of creating our own safe-space echo chambers by shutting out and shutting down opposing points of view, rather than carefully considering them and then engaging with our opponents in respectful and constructive dialogue. Shutting down and shutting out creates a degree of fragility in our own thinking and in our own emotional state. We become as fragile and as easily triggered on the right as the others are on the left.
I encourage you to reject fragility in your thinking. Be “antifragile”. Be the man or woman of God described by Paul in 2 Timothy 1:7 – strong, courageous, confident, and calm.
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