This is the time of year when I start to see some signs of maturity in my 7th grade students. Many of them are growing up, and I’m actually starting to see it, much like the first shoots of daffodils this time of year.
In my English class we read a few coming-of-age novels. Recently, we read The House on Mango Street, and we discussed what it means to grow up. As a way to kick off the discussion, I gave them two definitions that I found from unlikely sources.
The first is just a comment on a blog by someone named Sarge927 who says, “A person “grows up” when he/she learns to take responsibility for his/her own actions and stops behaving as if the world revolves around him/her. Many people never truly grow up because they constantly blame others for everything “bad” that has happened in their lives or they expect everyone and everything in their world to conform to their point of view. People who are grown up will suck it up and pay the price if they get caught breaking the law, even if it’s just a speeding ticket, while those who are not grown up will try to find any and every way to weasel out of it. People who are grown up will give and don’t always expect to get, those who are not grown up will always ask “What’s in it for me?”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
And then there is this classic from a “Dear Abby” column, in which she defined growing up in the following ways:
Maturity is the ability to do a job whether you are supervised or not; finish a job once it is started; carry money without spending it and be able to bear an injustice without wanting to get even.
Maturity is the ability to control anger and settle differences without violence.
Maturity is patience. It is the willingness to postpone immediate gratification in favor of the long-term gain.
Maturity is perseverance, the ability to sweat out a project or a situation in spite of heavy opposition and discouraging setbacks.
Maturity means dependability, keeping one’s word, coming through in a crisis. The immature are masters of the alibi. They are confused and disorganized. Their lives are a maze of broken promises, former friends, unfinished business and good intentions that somehow never materialized.
So, we all have some growing up to do, don’t we?