I’ve been contemplating this subject for a long time. I’m not sure if the concept of maturity is entirely subjective or not. I don’t think there are any universal standards for maturity, especially since every culture has its own view of what maturity is. But anyway…
First of all, I think that once we escape high school (or possibly even earlier), we realize that age is no measure of maturity. There are plenty of 40- and 50-year-olds who still act like children. There are many teens and children who act wiser than their years.
But is maturity something that is gained over time? Something learned? Is it a measure of intelligence? Or are some people just born with the capacity to gain maturity?
I think part of maturity is learning from your mistakes and accepting criticism well. Being petty and defensive are signs of immaturity. If someone rushes through life without stopping to consider the past and learn from it, that person may be immature, based on their unwillingness to learn. Some constantly make the same mistakes over and over again, thinking that something different will happen.
As Einstein said (one of my favorite quotes):
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”
Maybe “insanity” should be changed to “immaturity.” Learning from others’ mistakes is just as important as learning from your own. If you see someone making a mistake and destroying their life because of it, don’t follow them! It seems like common sense, but when that someone is a person you look up to, you may find yourself following in that person’s footsteps.
Becoming a parent does not automatically make someone mature. I can’t stand shows that glorify teenage parenthood, such as Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant. I hope that teens who watch these shows realize the mistakes these “reality stars” are making and do not repeat those mistakes. But some teens may believe that, because of these shows, teen pregnancy is acceptable and having a child will make them more mature or more of an adult – or even make them “glamorous” in some perverse way. Seriously – who wants to live their life under the eye of a camera?
Graduating from college does not automatically make someone mature. There is still so much to learn, even after formal schooling is over. That’s one of the best things about life; you really do learn something new every day… that is, if you choose to learn. Walking around in ignorance and refusing to learn from daily life is a type of immaturity.
There are so many parents out there who say something to the effect of, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Teens may call their parents hypocrites for saying this, but in truth, we are all hypocrites. We have made mistakes, we have learned from them, and we want to keep others from making those same mistakes, so we tell others not to do what we have done. I think being hypocritical is part of human nature. Of course, there are people who act hypocritical purposely to confuse others and lead them astray.
Religion does not automatically make someone mature. By its very nature, religions are full of hypocrites. Spirituality aims to make us forsake our human nature, which is incredibly difficult. Even the most religious people fall back into their human nature at times; they are often labeled hypocrites because they tell others to “do as I say, not as I do.”
Above all, I think maturity is being open-minded and not shutting down others’ arguments. Listen to what that person is saying, even if it’s not in accord with your own beliefs. Being open to different perspectives is crucial. Accepting that others are different from you is crucial. Sometimes it feels good to realize that you can’t change a person – it can be exhausting trying to change someone who won’t change. They are that way for a reason; instead of trying to change them, learn from them!
OK, this blog has gone on long enough (and I could go on even longer). Feel free to share your thoughts! 🙂