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).

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