Artificial Maturity (book review)

When I posted my review of Tim Elmore’s previous book Generation iY, I said that book earned a rare “must read” rating from me. Whether you read that book or not, Artificial Maturity has earned the coveted must read rating again!

If Generation iY described who this current youth generation is, Artificial Maturity describes how to help these youth achieve genuine maturity. Here’s how Dr. Elmore sets the stage for this book from the very first page:

…I believe in this generation like none before. I believe they have the potential to be the greatest generation—a population Warren Bennis calls the “Crucible Generation.” He and many others believe these young people may just be the ones who transform society globally and restore democracy and goodwill.

I believe this with one caveat. I predict all this is possible if we, the adults, will rethink the way we parent, lead, teach, coach, pastor, and manage them. It’s up to us what kinds of adults our kids will become. So far, many of them are a part of a leaderless generation. The adults have done more protecting than preparing. Some moms and dads want to be pals rather than parents. And many adults are just overwhelmed with the notion of leading kids today—and they surrender their role as leaders.

So this is not a book that tells you how to change kids, but how we as adults must change.

With persuasive evidence, scientific studies, personal observations, and years of hands-on experience, Dr. Elmore so accurately details how we as parents have contributed to our kids becoming artificially mature. In other words, they know lots of things, but they don’t know how to effectively apply that knowledge to be productive at work, school, and in relationships. 

I, too, share Dr. Elmore’s optimism about this generation. But if I want to see my kids—and other young people with whom I interact—excel and mature, I have to look at myself in the mirror. This generation can’t succeed if we continue to parent, and teach, and pastor, and manage as we have been doing.

I cannot urge pastors, youth pastors, parents, teachers, principals, coaches, and employers to read Artificial Maturity right away! This generation needs us to help them soar!

I am a Jossey-Bass book reviewer.

UPDATE: Read some of my favorite quotes from Artificial Maturity by clicking here.

Perfect? Yes!

The opening words of Psalm 119 describe the end result of going through what I’m calling the P119 Spiritual Workout. In a word: Blessed. In fact this word is so exciting that the Hebrew language uses the emphatic thought here. Bringing that into English means that the first two verses of this chapter both begin…

O!! How blessed!!

That’s a wonderful goal, but the next two verses seem to bring us crashing back to earth. In order to enjoy theses heights of blessing we are asked to live like this:

  • They do nothing wrong as they walk in His ways (v. 3).
  • God’s precepts are to be fully obeyed (v. 4).

Yikes! Nothing wrong?!? Full obedience?!? No mistakes?!? Even Jesus said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

But pay attention to this: The sign of a maturing Christian is not one who never sins; the sign of a maturing Christian is one who is closing the gap between sin and repentance.

How does that work? Here’s the progression…

Realization of sin → Repentance of sin → Restoration of God’s blessing

The time gap between our repentance and God’s restoration is faster than the blink of an eye… faster than you can even comprehend. What often takes us awhile is moving from realization to repentance. Instead we explain, and justify, and make excuses, and drag our feet.

But a maturing Christian invites the inspection of the Holy Spirit through the reading of God’s Word, and then is quick to realize sin and repent from it. When God restores us, do you know how we appear to Him? PERFECT!!

So realizing our sin, repenting of that sin, and experiencing God’s restoration is the fastest way to live as those who do nothing wrong and who are fully obeying God’s precepts.

Don’t wait any longer: realize and repent, and then experience God’s restoration as you stand perfect in His presence!

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