July 3, 2076. An America chastened by the crises of the 21st Century is about to celebrate its Tercentenary. No longer the sole superpower, it has abandoned its role of global policeman to a more mature U.N. and is now using its limited funds for the needs of its people—more Denmark Anno 2019 than the United States of that era. Congress has just enacted a National Maturity Test, better known as the Adult Licensing Act. Unless a citizen passes this multi-phasic exam, he or she may not open a bank account, purchase or drive a motor vehicle, matriculate at a college, apply for a salaried job, buy property, run for office, or even marry.
As you can imagine, parents, the schools, churches, health clubs, summer camps, tutoring organizations—everyone is teaching to this test. The ten things everyone is required to know and be able to do to qualify as a “mature American” include (1) RELATING effectively to others. This is one “R” no one born in the early 21th Century ever was expected to know. Included are leadership and collaborating skills. (2) SOLVING PROBLEMS efficiently. Research skills are part of this requirement. (3) MANAGING TIME and FINANCES well. Living within one’s means, saving money regularly, and knowing the difference between important and urgent are all de rigueur. (4) Showing SELF-DISCIPLINE in one’s lifestyle, including eating well, sleeping enough, and exercising every day. (5) Understanding and practicing responsible HUMAN SEXUALITY. (6) BEING CHARITABLE. (7) Expressing FORGIVENESS and GRATITUDE on a daily basis. (8) Showing CIVILITY in all one's interactions. (9) Exhibiting a SENSE OF WONDER. And (10) USING POWER WISELY in everything one does. During the first three-quarters of the 21st Century, humankind suffered from a collective lack of these behaviors. The President, a forty-year-old Muslim woman, will sign the bill into law tomorrow.