When Elected Officials Act As Troubled Teens!


I work in a profession that deals with struggling teenagers and the problems that families are faced with surrounding drug use, sexual behavioral problems and mental illness.    


I’m seeing signs (and have been for years) that our society in general is struggling. What I’m sensing goes beyond “Republican and Democrat” or “Conservative and Liberal”. It goes to the heart of “Identity”. Who are we? Who are we as a Nation? Who are we as a community? Who are we as individuals?    


As I work with teens who find themselves involved in dishonest behavior, unhealthy relationships and “entitled” attitudes, there is one common thread that runs through every situation. Throughout their childhood and adolescent development, for any number of reasons, these kids have moved away from life’s tasks that contribute to the development of an “Identity” and they have slipped into the world of developing an “Image”. It is important to understand that “Image” and “Identity” are two very different things.    


As each of us moves into adulthood, it is through the accomplishment of life’s (school, work, relationships, family interactions and communication) tasks, that we gain competencies (determination, courage, honesty, integrity, insight, loyalty and knowledge) as well as skill sets in life. This is where an “Identity” is developed.    


“Image” has its foundation based in perception, not competency. Image is more about how one appears than who they are.    


So, as I look at myself, my community and my nation, I wonder, which side of the fence are we choosing to be on. Are we losing our “Identity” as a Nation? Did we ever have one to begin with? Are our elected officials demonstrating a healthy sense of Identity as witnessed by the internalized competencies listed above, or are they simply concerned about perception?    


As I work to develop a healthy sense of identity, I become less concerned about image in myself as well as others.    


What are your thoughts?                  

Riversled Riversled
46-50, M
1 Response Mar 27, 2009

I think that you are correct to a certain extent. The idea that perception is permeating our daily lives is something that has always existed since time began. I think that the problem is that the world has become so *small* as to bring to the forefront of everyone's minds just how much it controls our lives.<br />
It is much easier to hide when there isn't a world stage to present it on.<br />
With internet and television there has been a growing awareness of how everyone is affected by perception. It allows the people who have sway in society to have greater influence in how they want people to be. This gives them more power over those people who hope to achieve their level of success by imitating their behavior.<br />
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I believe it has become more a question of morals than of perception. Are we willing to compromise our principals to *become* someone else?<br />
<br />
It is a much deeper and complicated subject, I think, than can be just explained as a simple problem of perception.