I represented a client recently who was immature and full of excuses. He showed up very late for court and didn’t bring the documents that the court had previously ordered him to bring. When that became an issue, he initially failed to take responsibility. I sincerely thought that he was about to be put in jail.
During a time when it was just the two of us prior to going into the courtroom, I dealt with him very directly. I wasn’t angry at him, but wasn’t particularly gracious either. For every excuse and reason he gave, I took the opportunity to reject his efforts to shift responsibility. Throughout our discussion, I continually insisted that it was his deal and it was time to own it.
That’s what caring looked like in that particular situation. A man, twice as old as a younger man, caring enough to reject childish excuses while challenging with the opportunity to step into maturity. Stern and consistent insistence that you meet me where I am, because I am not coming to where you want to stay.
We all too often water down what we owe the generation behind us. We owe them truth with consistency. That is sometimes firm and sometimes even a bit harsh. When it comes from a place of sincerely caring, it will be legitimate. It may be rejected initially or perpetually but it will be legitimate all the same.
The young man responded well to the man to man direct confrontation. He apologized and shifted into the language of responsibility. We were able to keep him out of jail.
There were many positive things that the young man had started to steward and with encouragement, he will build on those to full maturity. When that happens, there will come a day that a younger man half his age fails to be responsible. The opportunity will present itself for investment into another generation with truth and consistency.