We are all born and start at 0, that’s something all living creatures share. And we all grow up until we reach full physical maturity. Physical maturity happens and we cannot stop it. But this isn’t about physical maturity. What I am talking about here is emotional maturity. While the physical kind happens whether we encourage it or not; the emotional kind must be encouraged and nurtured.
Consider this: if we didn’t have to pay bills, do the cooking, cleaning, laundry, go to work or school, then how many of us would do these things just for fun? There are people that would do it just for fun, but that is not the majority of us. Most of us grow up when we are faced with situations and experiences that give us the knowledge to be emotionally mature.
Some people, as soon as they are 18, are striking out on their own and wanting to be in charge of, and therefore responsible for, their own lives. And when they are out on their own and figuring it out, they mature quite quickly. I heard one young person tell me, after having this experience, that people their own age were pretty immature and many were spoiled. This was coming from a 19 year old. We discussed the fact that the main differences were that of life experience. While this person had taken life head-on, many of their friends were still letting their parents handle the details and they were still having fun. The maturity difference was very obvious, even to a fairly young person at the time.
I will have parents tell me that they don’t want their kids to grow up and leave home right after high school. They aren’t ready for that change to occur. So they continue to treat these young adults as children well into their 20’s and then, eventually become angry because “these kids just won’t grow up!” If we continue to treat people like children, they will continue to function as children and the older they get, the harder it will be to convert to adulthood. This is a simple observation and one I have seen over and over again.
I had one 20-something ask me once why they would want to be an adult. They pointed out that they had it pretty good and they had never been taught or encouraged to be an adult. Now they were angry because all of a sudden the parents were on them to be more responsible. This person did not understand what suddenly changed and the parents didn’t understand that nothing was going to just happen without encouragement and support from them. (Please note that some individuals simply won’t have the same maturity levels as others through no intention or fault of anyone.)
People are simply not understanding that emotional maturity, unlike physical growth/maturity, doesn’t just happen naturally, unless it is encouraged and supported, it doesn’t happen. When we have to take on the mature role, then many people eventually get into it, get used to it and do fine. For some people, their emotional maturity seems to get stalled and it never really changes. This maturity thing is an interesting and important topic. Consider these thoughts and we’ll come back to it again later.
The one key point: we grow up when we have to and not before!