Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Grow Up Already
Over the years I’ve become a much more serious person. I suppose it needed to happen, but I kind of miss the old me who would do and say really dumb things and laugh at whatever and not take everything so seriously. But growing up happens. And it should.
I found growing up a challenging thing from an emotional standpoint. I simply didn’t want to do it. Partly because it scared me, and partly because our culture encourages us to not grow up. It’s apparently something we’re supposed to avoid.
The commercials said, “I don’t want to grow up, I’m a Toys R Us kid.”
Walt Disney said, “Too many people grow up. That's the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up.”
The Ramones sang, “I don’t want to grow up.”
Simple Plan sang it at the top of their lungs, "I don't want to be told to grow up."
And there’s plenty more where that came from. It’s a theme of living in the western world that growing up is about loss. Losing innocence. Losing freedom. Losing imagination and wonder.
But I think, in reality, what people are afraid of is losing our selfishness. After all, childhood is a massive exercise in selfishness. And we accept it from children, to a point, because they’re trying to figure out who they are and what their life should be about. But when this selfish, self focus, drags on year after year, decade after decade, keeping a person from growing and maturing, it gets plain ugly to see.
Growing up doesn’t mean giving up comic books or giving up dreaming about the future or losing your sense of wonder. At least it shouldn’t be about things like that. Growing up means realizing that the world doesn’t revolve around you, and being at peace with that reality. It means living for others sometimes instead of living every moment for yourself. It means learning to live out grace with contentment. It means learning to cope with the harshness of life without letting it eat you alive.
I love children. I adore my own kids. They are wonderful. There is much to be said for childhood. I miss my childhood in some ways. But here’s the truth: Apart from a very few child savants, children have not produced great art or films or accomplished great scientific discoveries. Children have not created medicines and vaccinations. Children have not built great cities or uncovered profound spiritual truths. They just don’t have it in them yet.
We should be like children. We can be child-like. But we should not be children forever. It’s okay to grow up. It’s healthy. And it should be expected.
1 Corinthians 13:11
Peace to you.
© LW Publishing 2011