The meaning of maturity

That whole “using a crucible to burn to truth” and “from hardship comes wisdom” thing? Sometimes it works.

Through some recent rocky roads, I have had reason to try to clarify some frequently used but slippery definitions.

The difference between adult and child is fairly easy- it is either a legal or biological one. You can choose which one to use, depending on the appropriate circumstances. While it sucks to have more than one definition, they are not very slippery ones.

Then comes the challenge of mature versus immature. This has nothing to do with age or biological function. Certainly we have all encountered the very mature child or the immature adult. This morning, in a moment of clarity, the difference crystallized.

Someone who is immature receives input/feedback/critique from others, assumes it must be true, even if it conflicts with their experience and reacts to it emotionally.
Someone who is mature receives input/feedback/critique from others, self- reflects on it, agrees or disagrees with the input and decides what action to take ( or not).

For example-

An immature child who wears hand me down clothes to school has someone tell him that he looks like a goofball. He assumes their statement is true and reacts emotionally ( hurt, sad, angry) and his actions are then driven by those emotions.

The mature child in the same circumstances self reflects on the comment. They might disagree and move on, or they might agree. If they agree, they might reflect back to the critic that they might look like a goofball, but those are the only clothes they have. Or they might reflect and decide that putting the plain shirt with the striped pants was a mistake and choose different clothes the next day. In each case, their action was chosen and was the result of self reflection, not an immediate emotional response.

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