Weekly Thought – February 6, 2024
Fred and Mary Alice enjoyed owning a condo in the Padre Island area for ten years. She loved walking the beach and collecting shells. He appreciated watching and writing down his observations.
Lessons from the Beach
I once went to our beach condo during Spring Break – not by intention! Have you ever been sober among the drunk? Old among the young? Outsider among the insiders? Fully clothed among the….well, you get the idea! It seemed to me the kids wanted three things:
1) Fun – it appeared the fun must always be eluding them because they were frantically looking for it. Fun is a phantom. Their laughter was hollow. They were loud, profane, and destructive Judging by the trash on the beach, fun is expensive. This search for fun was the definition of hedonism.
2) Irresponsibility – the essence of their irresponsibility could be summarized by three words: drunk, nude, and drugged. Signs encouraging women to “get naked” were plastered everywhere. I don’t have any experience with the drug culture, but judging by their behavior I had to believe they were “spaced out.”
3) Anonymity -The group provided a way to blend into a social mass, but it became more of a social mess. Behavior which would have been unthinkable alone gained acceptance with the mob mentality. I walked into our condo lobby as the police were interviewing four males who had raped a female. Not one of them carried any ID – they weren’t individuals for they were just part of the amorphous spring break culture. Spring break would end and the students would return to school with tales of beach conquests. These males, instead, may find themselves in jail and the female would leave scarred for life. They had chosen anonymity, but in so doing, had given up much of their unique identities.
We don’t automatically grow out of the search for fun, irresponsibility, and anonymity. Someone asked me, “what would it take to reach maturity?” For these beach goers they would have to 1) turn fun into joy; 2) exchange irresponsibility for accountability; 3) exchange anonymity for understanding identity and the outcome of having our name written in the book of life.
The danger of the beach week is not so much the three or four days of binge, but it is the danger of thinking the sinful appetite can be satisfied. It can be much more – it is a fire which constantly changes its appearance. What can be beach week turns into adult patterns with the same principles. I have known adults who never outlive the beach but disguise the search in more “adult” expressions. It can be greed, hunger for power, or desire for status. No matter what they try, the fire isn’t extinguished.
This week carefully consider: 1) What have I done to eliminate any Spring Break thinking? 2) How can I help younger ones understand the long term consequences of a lost week? 3) When do I see colleagues falling into immature thinking?
Words of Wisdom: “We don’t automatically grow out of the search for fun, irresponsibility, and anonymity.”
Wisdom from the Word: “The wise person accepts instructions, but the one who speaks foolishness will come to ruin.” (Proverbs 10:8 NET Bible)