As we head into our Competence themed Parent Weekend, there are a few questions I have been reflecting on. 1- What is my purpose? This is a question that we all have or will wrestle with in our lifetime. 2 – How do I know if I have achieved competence (or adulthood) and is that even possible? Becoming an adult can be a scary part of life, but if it is done well, it will set you up to live empowered and make life good.

Growing in competence means discovering and feeling confident in your PTIs (passions, talents and interests.) It also involves pursuing ways to intentionally use your PTI’s to impact others and the world. This looks like doing what you love and what brings you joy and purpose. 

A rival to competence is the ‘victim’ stance. I know I have been guilty of blaming other people or my circumstance on things not being how I want them. Certainly other people and our circumstances impact us as we cannot control others, but we can control ourselves and how we respond. We can step into power by saying, “I am responsible for myself and getting my needs met.”

Another aspect of competence is seeing healthy authority as good, understanding that respecting authority is a choice, and recognizing that authority’s role in our lives is not about power and control. Instead of rebelling against authority, we seek ways to make healthy changes. Take note: parents’ authority over their kids is about influence, not control. I think of Jesus and how he could easily make us do what he wants, but instead He invites us to make a free choice. Over and over, He invited people to come near (and still does), and He lived a life of influence and not control. Jesus knew what He stood for and lived His life according to His purpose.

Competence can feel like we have to have everything figured out, but even adults don’t always know what they are doing. It is both daunting and empowering to say, “I have the ability to make my life good.” To answer my question; can competence be achieved? I think no, but isn’t that what makes this life good? The saying goes “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Well I say, you can. What’s something you have always wanted to learn? What’s a healthy risk you’ve been too afraid to take? In what ways have you been playing victim instead of taking your power? What authority are you rebelling against instead of  seeing your freedom of choice? My final question to you is this: how are you going to make your life good today? 


By Jenny Pease, MA, CRA Therapist