“Sometimes insecurities can scream so loudly that you become unable to hear all the great possibilities whispering underneath them.” - Brad Montague
As the father of a two-year-old, I am constantly thinking about what it means to be a better grownup. So when I came across Brad Montague’s book, literally titled Becoming Better Grownups, I bumped it right to the top of my queue.
Early in the book, Brad perfectly summarized something that I thought was unique to me:
“I often convince myself that I am not a real grownup and that other people are. These other real people have it all figured out. I, on the other hand, am a fraud. I am a giant child who, because he's had the right number of birthdays, has suddenly been given ridiculous amounts of responsibility.”
Brad goes on to describe a time when he was invited by a third-grade teacher to watch her students present responses to a prompt he had posted online: “The world would be more awesome if _____”. The invitation came at a time in Brad’s life when he was feeling unhappy and unconfident in his work.
“These young, hope-filled hearts didn’t need a tired, burned-out old guy,” Brad thought to himself. ”There are plenty of better grownups for this task.” He told himself that the teacher must have made a mistake and didn’t respond to the email.
But the teacher was unrelenting. Because she seemed to wholeheartedly believe in him, Brad finally agreed to visit her school. It turned out to be one of the most fulfilling things he had done in a long time and kicked off a listening tour with hundreds of classrooms around the country — which then snowballed into greater adventures, including this book.
Reflecting on that moment, Brad writes:
“There's something I've been learning … Better grownups do not believe that they should just wait around for other better grownups to show up. There might be people around who are more skilled at budgeting than you are. There might be people around who are more experienced at building than you are. There might be people around who are more trained to do any number of things better than you can. Please know this: No one is better suited to be you than you. You are perfectly cast in your role, and we need you. Children need you. The world needs you. Even though they might feel inadequate, great grownups show up. So, show up. Show up. Show up.”
So if you, like me, don’t always feel like a “real grownup”, please know that you are not alone. There are many more of us out there, and we can all have each other’s back — if we show up.
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