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Growing Leaders Blog

on Leading the Next Generation


Be Careful What you Depend On

Society demands that we learn interdependence. We all need each other to make it. Houses. Cars. Food. No one in my neighborhood hunted and killed an animal, then cooked it for their evening meal. Few of us built our own house or put our car together. We depend on other people to do that for us.


photo credit: MelvinSchlubman via photo pin cc

At the same time, our culture is increasingly demanding we depend on outside sources just to survive the day. It’s sending warning signals to me.

  • We need meds to go to sleep at night.
  • We need caffeine to stay alert during the day.
  • We need music or noise to preoccupy us on our morning commute.
  • We need entertainment to avoid boredom.
  • We need alcohol to relax.
  • We need energy drinks to perform.
  • We need therapists to prevent depression.
  • We need Tylenol to remove any pain or discomfort.
  • We need Facebook to avoid loneliness.
  • We need the government, more and more, to survive.

And this, to me, is a clear sign of caution. There must be a balance between independence and co-dependence. No doubt we need each other’s gifts and contributions, regardless of what team we play on. But let me ask you a question: do you need these outside “additives” just to endure the day?

Forty years ago, a nationwide survey reported that American’s felt they needed fifty possessions in order to live the lifestyle they’d grown accustom to. Today, Americans say they need over daily 350 items to make it. Somehow, we drifted. Students today have grown up in a time where they’re not learning self-sufficiency. They assume they have to have someone else do it for them. We have modeled this for them and done this to them.

What could you give up today that would enable you to simplify your life and become less dependent on others? How could you teach this to your students?


  1. Lorie Warchol on August 24, 2012 at 8:28 am

    So true we feel entitled. We over-protect our children and take away the valuable learning tool of failure. Great book “The Secret Life of Men” has some great insight to how we enable this generation…..

    • Tim Elmore on August 27, 2012 at 2:21 pm

      Thanks for the recommendation!

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Be Careful What you Depend On