Some folks find it hard to say “I have decided to . .[plug in go to Kentucky, follow Jesus, farm, move to Meadowcreek or fill in the blank].” But it’s a foundation of personal resilience and personal resilience is the foundation of farm and community resilience. Everyone has doubts, but at some point you just have to put them aside and go with your gut. It was a pretty easy decision yesterday to leave the hot and muggy Delta and head up to the Ozarks. This morning at Meadowcreek you can see your breath, it’s that chilly.
The cool air blowing past me from one window even made the moisture in my breath condense inside. The warm molecules of water lost their energy and changed to a gas right before my eyes. Pretty fun. So I decided to just blow air in and out for awhile and enjoy the Zen of cloud creation. I’ve decided to not decide for awhile.
The best way to make decisions is with someone who loves to collect facts, but can’t decide. Last night we needed to decide what time to leave for Kentucky. I didn’t want to decide for everyone, so I just stated some facts: nine and half hour trip, like to get to Natural Bridge before dark, want to stop a few places on the way, etc. Then MRS said, OK, let’s leave at 7.
She’s one of the most resilient folks I know. She has no problem with decisions. Making decisions are easy for her because if she fails, she just picks herself up and tries another tack.
Sometimes she really should collect more information before she acts. Some would call her impulsive. From chaos research, we know we are all bundles of conflicting impulses. Adolescents are especially prone to following impulses without much thought.
Resilient societies have mechanisms to help the young learn to choose appropriately from their many impulses. The Amish give responsibility to their children before they even enter adolescence. Amazing to see 10 and 12 year olds manage huge equipment on an Amish farm. Adolescence doesn’t get a chance to take hold.
Resilient societies dissolve when they are unable to direct the impulses of adolescents. Eric Hoffer said it well:
Perhaps a modern society can remain stable only by eliminating adolescence, by giving its young, from the age of ten, the skills responsibilities, and rewards of grownups, and opportunities for action in all spheres of life. Adolescence should be a time of useful action, while book learning and scholarship should be a preoccupation of adults. It would be also particularly fitting were the training and coaching of the young done by retired skilled craftsmen, technicians, industrialists, scientists and politicians.
Notice he said retired politicians. Politicians who have not yet retired can harness the impulsivity of adolescents of all ages to destroy all resilience of a society.