"What is Adulthood?"Bro. Ron Rupé
5/20/2001 6:00 PM
What is adulthood? How do you know when you are an adult? How does adulthood occur? When will I be recognized as an adult? Adult/Adulthood = mature/maturity; womanhood/manhood. What brings maturity? Adulthood is not brought about instantaneously, by a certain event in your life (e.g., entering highschool, getting your driver's license, highschool graduation, marriage, etc.). Most people get married as "youth" (younger than 40 years old) not as an "adult." The act of marriage in and of itself does not bring maturity. Maturity does not happen at a certain age (e.g., 16, 18, 21, 25, 35, etc.), though generally it does happen by the time you are 40 (give or take 10 years). Adulthood is not an event, but a transition or a transformation. The transformation is brought about over time by experience. The experiences of life shape, mold and form you into an adult. It isn't just experiences that shape us into adulthood, but it is our reaction, correct action, to the experiences. We must learn and grow from the experience, learn the right lessons. God allows us to learn and mature by the things we go through. The only way experience can mature you is by you learning the right lessons and reacting in a right way. Experiences will come your way. How will you respond? What will you learn?
1 Corinthians 13:11
Adulthood is the gradual putting away of childish things. This transition has its sad moments and events, and its happy moments and events. What childish things do we put away?
- Speaking as a child.
- A Childish Understanding
- Childish thinking
If you are holding on to childish things, you are not an adult yet. There is no shame in being the age you are, if that's the age you are supposed to be. You haven't made a full transformation, YET. Between childhood and adulthood is adolescence (growth between childhood and adulthood) or youth. During adolescence you reach forward to adulthood while trying to hold on to childhood. You want the best of both worlds. You want the recognition, freedom, and authority of an adult, but you don't want the responsibility, accountability, burdens, and consequences of adulthood (e.g., you want the privilege of driving, but you want Mom and Dad to fill the tank; You want the recognition and praise of cooking the meal, but don't want to do the supper dishes.). Adolescence is wanting to vote, but not wanting to register for the draft. As a citizen you have rights and you have responsibilities. Adulthood is a package deal. You get recognition and authority, but you also get accountability and responsibility. Adolescence is a tough time - a mix of childishness and responsibility.
- Adults don't take the biggest piece of pie. Children try to figure out how much they get.
- Adults don't pout when they aren't included; are forgotten or don't get what others do.
- Adults don't make "little deals" into "big deals". They maximize the positive and minimize the negative - especially when it comes to other people. Youth are very competitive and point out other's faults.
- Adults don't have to be told to do routine household chores. Mom and Dad seem to "automatically" take care of chores. If you haven't put away childish things, recognize that you are being treated accordingly.
- Adults give without getting, without receiving appreciation, recognition, and give even when they are "despised and rejected" by others. (This is what it is like to raise a child.)
- Adults give others room to work in their own way. Children think you are doing it wrong if you don't do it their way. Not everyone does things the same way to accomplish a thing.
- Adults don't tattle. Children tattle. Most times tattling is done with the wrong motivation. It is usually NOT done for the development of the other child. There are a few exceptions that don't count as "tattling" - if someone is about to get hurt, something is about to get broken, or if someone is doing something grotesquely immoral.
- Adults don't compete for recognition or attention. Adults aren't threatened by the prosperity, praiseworthiness, or success of another. Children do feel threatened because they aren't confident in where they are.
- Adults don't "boss."
- Adults aren't overly concerned about what, how, if, etc., others are doing what they should. They mind their own business.
- Adults don't care who is watching - because they know that usually no one is watching or cares.
- Adults achieve goals without prompting or recognition, without encouragement, and bear burdens without coddling.
- Adults don't say things like, "I'm first/last to do such-and-such."
1 Timothy 4:12
Adolescence is not an insult. Paul told Timothy not to let anyone (including himself) despise his youth. No one expects you to be more mature than you are supposed to be. You can't rush yourself into adulthood. It takes time and experience. This points the way to gaining respect as a youth - in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Manifest the spirit of charity, faith, and purity. Shame is not in adolescence in the youth, but in someone who should be mature, adolescence is a shame.
This is shameful. These were still babies when they should have been adults. They didn't learn the right lessons from their experiences. We need to learn from our experiences the crucial elements of maturity.
This tells us what true adulthood is. Until we become a complete adult - the one of full age is in "the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." When people see the fullness of Christ in you - you are an adult.