Becoming More Competent

Posted on: November 12th, 2011 in Competence - No Comments

In a previous article we identified six arenas where you might demonstrate competence: academically, cognitively, socially, emotionally, vocationally, and spiritually.  Each of these areas encompasses many more qualities than you may realize.


Emotional competence is the ability to identify, manage, and regulate your emotions so that they help rather than hinder your progress in the world.  It’s about knowing how to take turns, to delay gratification, to share and get along with others, and to cope with different contingences like success and failure.  To be emotionally competent is to understand that you need to take into account other people’s emotions and reactions.


Vocational competence is about learning to get along with people who have power – such as a boss or supervisor, co-workers, and subordinates.  It’s also about learning to take initiative, assume responsibility, follow directions, and complete tasks.  Vocational competence demands patience, perseverance, and the ability to attend to work that may not be interesting – boring.


Spiritual competence is about embracing a world view that is consistent with your stated beliefs.  It is choosing healthy options in critical everyday situations that are consistent with values you prize, cherish, and have become your own and not those superimposed on you.


Not that you understand the depth of what we mean when we say competence know this.  Very few teens are equally competent in all areas.  A strength in one area, however, can build up or compensate for a relative weakness in another.  For example, if you are very socially competent but not so when it comes to academics, try using your social networking ability to your advantage in school.

Are You Performing?

Posted on: October 9th, 2011 in Competence - No Comments

Competence is the ability to perform adequately in the world.  It means being able to accomplish what is needed so as to have effective interactions with other people and social institutions.  Someone who is competent knows how to make things work out for him.  As a teen, you may demonstrate competence in the following six arenas: academically, cognitively, socially, emotionally, vocationally, and spiritually.  Each of these areas encompasses many more qualities than you may probably realize.


For example, a narrow view of academic competence refers to the ability to get good grades on tests, paper, and report cards.  However, from our perspective of positive youth development, academic competence sees teens as good school citizens.  They join teams, audition for plays, participate in events and student government.  They know how to negotiate the entire school environment and adapt it to their needs.  Does this describe you?  Are you cognitively competent?


This is the ability to articulate and argue for your opinions or acquire information about topics that are of interest whether or not these topics arise or are assigned in school.  Do you listen to the news, watch the History Channel, read avidly, do crossword puzzles, participate on the debate team?  If you do then you are cognitively competent.  Cognitive competence can also be reflected in curiosity or inquisitiveness about different areas of knowledge and in the ability to figure out how to acquire this knowledge.  Does this describe you?  What about social competence?


Social competence entails knowing what is expected in differing social situations and being able to act accordingly.  Do you have satisfying and sustained relationships?  The number of friends you have does not matter but the quality of those friendships does.  A socially competent person knows how to act toward other people of different ages and walks of life – teacher, employer, peer, friend, and siblings.  If you are competent socially, you know how to conduct yourself during a job interview, how to turn down a solicitation from a charity, how to participate in a committee meeting, and whom to turn to for help.


If you have discovered you are lacking in competence don’t worry.  According to Luke 2:52, Jesus had to grow in competence as well.  Notice here, Jesus grew in wisdom (academic and cognitive competence), and stature (emotional and vocational competence), and favor with God (spiritual competence) and man (social competence).  He offers help to those who dare to put their trust in Him (Philippians 4:13).