Grow Up! And Act Like An Adult!

Have you ever witnessed a mom berating her child at the grocery store and wondered why major discipline couldn’t be kept at home? What about a parent so intent on his child’s athletic team’s winning that he takes to the field to challenge verbally or physically a coach or a referee?

Road rage is something we all have heard about on social media or in the news. A driver feels his space on the road has been intentionally violated so he must act in retaliation even at the cost of causing the other driver to be harmed or even to lose his life!

Or, in this world-wide spread of COVID-19 when our medical experts are pleading for the public to wear masks for their own safety as well as the safety of those around them, there are many citizens of the United States who still feel that their individual freedom to choose is being trampled upon. We see on television’s nightly news an adult customer so enraged when asked to put on a facial covering by an employee at a chain supermarket that she begins to throw packages of food on the floor. Doesn’t this look like something you have seen a fussy child in the midst of a temper tantrum do while sitting in her feeding chair?

A long time ago we accepted that a shirt and shoes were expected and required if one entered a marketplace, a school, or a place of worship in the U.S.A. In other areas of the world and here also, however, it is anticipated and required that you take off your shoes and enter with your bare feet to kneel and pray on a prayer carpet if your place of worship is a mosque. An orthodox Jewish synagogue expects that its male congregants always wear a skullcap as a head covering. Catholic girls when I was growing up wore a veil or kerchief on their heads when attending Mass in their church.

Some family members especially in eastern cultures exchange their outdoor shoes for bare feet or slippers when entering their homes. I have a friend who always takes her shoes off when entering her own home or mine. So, in deference to her habit of cleanliness, I always remove my shoes when I visit her. What happened to the saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”?

Why do so many of us as American citizens not know that our individual freedom has to consider how it affects the freedom of others? There is a limitation to our freedom. It can not be absolute because my freedom ends where yours begins. How we carry out what we perceive as our individual freedom must not jeopardize the health or welfare of others.

We all expect our biological children or the children with whom we interact to mature in their actions as they grow physically. The toddler who shakes his head and defiantly says, “No!” when he wants to keep his toys all to himself and does not want to share is acting in a manner not unusual for his age. Yet, after he has several more birthdays, we anticipate that he will learn and use social skills to play amicably with other children so he has a good time and so do they.

Yet, have we as adults grown beyond the self-centered toddler stage whose favorite words are “Me” . . . “Mine” . . . and “No”?

Here’s what the Holy Bible of the Judeo-Christian tradition has to say about growing up. Choose your heart language or a language you want to learn from the selections below. Copy the chosen words on an index card and place it in a conspicuous place where you will see it on a daily basis for the next week. Say the selection out loud several times a day. See if these words of wisdom can guide your life in a positive direction.

English: When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11 NLT (Holy Bible New Living Translation)

Français : Lorsque j’étais enfant, je parlais comme un enfant, je pensais comme un enfant et je raisonnais comme un enfant ; mais une fois devenu adulte, j’ai abandonné tout ce qui est propre à l’enfant. 1 Corinthiens 13:11 NFC (La Sainte Bible Nouvelle Français Courant)

Español: Cuando yo era niño, hablaba como niño, pensaba como niño, razonaba como niño, al hacerme adulto, dije adiós a las cosas de niño. 1 Corintios 13:11 BLPH (Biblia La Palabra Hoy)

Deutsch: Einst, als ich noch ein Kind war, da redete ich wie ein Kind, ich fühlte und dachte wie ein Kind. Als ich dann aber erwachsen war, habe ich die kindlichen Vorstellungen abgelegt. 1 Korinther 13:11 GNB (Gute Nachricht Bibel)

Essay on Growing Up and Acting Like an Adult
Connie Carlisle Polley, 2020

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