Conflict Creates Character

Youth Specialties
June 12th, 2016

This post originally appeared on The YouSchool Blog and we thought it was so wonderful that we wanted to share it too!

What do Simba, Harry Potter and Katniss Everdeen have in common?

Their story is a meaningful pursuit filled with challenge, for the purpose of others. To live a meaningful life is a worthy pursuit, and all worthy pursuits will require certain things of us.

All movies we watch have four basic elements:

  1. protagonist
  2. ambition
  3. conflict
  4. resolution.

There’s a main character who wants something and overcomes conflict to accomplish it. Have you ever considered that the vast majority of every story is conflict? Why is that? Because conflict is what develops the character into who they need to become and why we are so happy to root for them at the end. Another way to say it is conflict is what makes the story worth telling and worth reading.

We face an extreme challenge at this point.

Our culture is designed to eliminate challenge, reduce the amount of time spent on tasks, and to remove barriers. We are potentially robbing people of the character development necessary to accomplish anything that matters. Could it be possible that life is intended to have challenging experiences that just might serve a purpose in our development? To take it one step further – the greater the ambition we have for others, the greater the conflict in our story that produces our character.

Take a moment and think about the experiences in your life that have shaped you the most.

Were they absent of challenge? Of course not. So why would life be any different for teenagers today? A meaningful life will come at a cost.

[bctt tweet=”To live a life of purpose is expensive, not in money but in choices.” username=”ys_scoop”]

And a meaningful life demands challenge, it requires conflict, and it produces the best character when adversity it present.

What would it look like for our teenagers to choose the hard stuff in life? To understand that a meaningful pursuit will be matched with purposeful conflict? How can you encourage someone today to shift their perspective about the conflict they face?

jaredJared Kirkwood is the chief talent officer for YourSchool, a guided life coaching program that helps emerging adults answer life’s most important questions: What’s my purpose? Where do I belong? What great story could I tell with my life? He has been in full-time youth work for 11 years, working with teenagers in Southern California. Prior to YouSchool, Jared was the High School Pastor at Mariners Church in Irvine, a large church serving a vibrant and diverse community. He holds a Master’s of the Arts in Global Leadership from Fuller Seminary, teaches about leadership wherever he can, and is a key contributor to the Mariners Church Leadership Pipeline. Jared and his wife, Kim, have been married for 10 years and have two ridiculously awesome kids named Asher and Ellie.

Youth Specialties

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.