The Myth of Adulthood

Kids playing grownup

This is an essay I wrote for Randy Elrod’s Water Cooler Wednesday.

It feels good to write an essay oozing faith. It reminds me of my Bible college days, my theological studies, and the time in my life I was studying to be a pastor (can you believe it?!). The desire to be a pastor has faded, but my love of truth, and my desire for wisdom has not.

The essay is called, “The Myth of Adulthood.

… … …

We are the Never Never Land generation. A generation of Pans fleeing adulthood and the very mention of growing up.

Adulthood at 18 is a myth…

It is a myth created by parents to get kids out of the house. It is a myth perpetuated by adults who are little more than children themselves.

Adulthood at 21 is a myth…

Step onto any campus, from Washington to Maine, and we find 18-25 year old kids that fail to show up to class (What?! No playground breaks?!) and thereby fail their classes; failing to show up to class, and without any kind of job, they will still take money from Mommy and Daddy to pay for their snacks and lunches, and they know how to share too well (especially around test time).

Adulthood at 30 is a myth…

Tucked within the cul-de-sacs of America are Desperate Housewives also acting like kids: playing (the grownup word is partying); stealing cookies (it’s called 50-year mortgage terms – a.k.a. wanting what you really can’t afford); and not playing well with others (cheating on and/or then divorcing spouses)

Shall I continue up the age ladder? Let’s not..

If growing up and accepting responsibility is not about age, what is it?

The Gospel writer Luke says the following about Jesus:

And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.” Luke 2:40

I would like to propose 4 ways we can become adults (responsible, godly, wise, mature)

1) Grow

Stop pretending like we can remain children forever, and grow up. This doesn’t mean we can’t be funny, or creative, or even childlike, but it does mean taking responsibility for our lives, and to stop leaning on our parents.

2) Become Strong

We become strong by training. The Scriptures teach that we are to train as though we were soldiers enduring hardship (2 Timothy 2:3). This means accepting pain. Being an adult hurts in a way being a child doesn’t, but there are joys to being an adult that are not found as a child.

3) Get Wise

I don’t mean being a smartass. We’ve got a lot to learn, you and I, but that doesn’t excuse ignorance. Children are very good at asking “Why? Why? Why?” So must adults. The difference is to stop asking the same question 100 times, until those around us wish we were children so they could smart us on the ass (and don’t think our Heavenly Father doesn’t wish this when we keep making the same mistakes!).

4) Get Grace

Growing up is not about independence. This is the great lie of adulthood. We are not independent. We need each other, but most of all we need God. You and I were made to run on God’s love like a machine was made to run on oil, or like grass was made to live on light. Growing up is admitting we need help, and that in the long haul we are really nothing more than children hoping someday to really grow up.

And who knows, maybe Pan was right, and we will find that Never Never Land is real and waits for us beyond death, with nothing more than happy thoughts forever.

In faith, I hope so.

… … …

(Most challenging for me was my 4th proposal. It is difficult to be needy. Or to admit I am.)

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What I most appreciate about this post are the action points. So many complain without giving us steps to change. Thanks.

  2. I agree – thanks for the practical steps. I don’t like to need help and yet, it’s inevitable.

  3. This was interesting. It reminds me of a post by Randy Elrod a few weeks ago which talked about what age you think you are as opposed to your biological age. So many of us commented that we feel at least 20 years younger. I don’t know if that’s a growing up issue, or more of a wish that we could take our current wisdom and knowledge and then go back in time and re-live those years of uncertainty and have different/better results. I do know an awful lot of 20-somethings who are still living at home quite contentedly, not paying rent, with no plans to move out and become independent. Quite scary.

  4. Maybe that’s why I don’t feel like an adult; I’m 30 and not a housewife… certainly not desperate either.

    (man, I would hate to be 30 and desperate already)

    Interesting post.


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