The Importance Of Being Adult

The Importance Of Being Adult


Leonard Zwelling

As I have so many times before, I lean on the wisdom of Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal of April 7-8. The column is called “If Adults Won’t Grow Up, Nobody Will”

Ms. Noonan notes the critical role that adults play in a society in which they are looked up to by the young for guidance on how to be an adult. She notes the paucity of role models these days from Laura Ingraham to Harvey Weinstein. Both of these adults preyed on the young to either make points with their constituents in Ingraham’s case or satiate their prurient desires in Weinstein’s. Mark Zuckerberg is another Peter Pan figure who dresses like a five-year old and expects us to believe his open-faced innocence as to his lack of knowledge of what his company was and is doing. Shame on them all.

MD Anderson was recently given a taste of this immaturity when President DePinho and his wife Lynda Chin ran roughshod over the entire institution doing what they wished, and spending what they wanted to satiate their drive for wealth and fame. It was a six-year ride of petulant adolescent angst that set MD Anderson back years in progress toward an enlightened environment where research and clinical care can be both balanced and excellent. We shall see if the new leadership can act more adult-like, hire adults, and restore the balance needed for MD Anderson to regain its place as the leader in cancer care and cancer research.

One need look no further than the halls of Congress to find a singular lack of adult behavior. The partisanship is at an all time high and productivity at an all time low. Nothing is getting done in DC. Even the current Speaker of the House looks twelve years old and he’s decided to take his ball and go home.

It is this vacuum of maturity that has allowed Donald Trump to tweet his way into the consciousness of the country every day. As a start, the least Congress could do is formally protect one of the few adults around, Robert Mueller, from any “time outs” imposed by the president. The news producers of America could step up and stop giving us Trump’s tweets as the greatest hits that lead off every newscast.

I understand that America values youth and that the young have an inordinate hold on the minds of the country from music, to movies to clothes and to the Internet. But we cannot expect our children to bring up themselves. We adults need to set an example and behave as if we actually have some idea what we are doing and are open to being corrected.

Mr. Trump does what he wishes, seemingly on impulse, which is the definition of a three-year old.

As we have seen in the gun debate, it is the young people who seem to be acting like the adults and the adults acting like children. In all of the venues of our political and social lives, we adults must set the tone and the example. And if we find ourselves with leaders who seem incapable of doing that, we must find the way to vote them out of office—which is exactly what the young people turning 18 intend to do.

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