The Mature Mind or the Mind of Maturity?
Determining Maturity in the Millennium
Maturity - Not Always Chronological Age
The world today is full of new concepts, ideas and innovations. Some of these are born of creators and inventors of all ages. However, when it comes to making decisions, maturity is not always a sign of good judgment; nor, is good judgment a sign of maturity.
Basically, a mind is not mature in terms of chronological time. The best example of this is a child born with genius mentality. The mind of this youth may well be clever, innovative, creative and possess an unusual level of intelligence. What the child lacks is maturity. Thus, decisions they make about ordinary day-to-day issues may not be based on the wisdom that only comes with experience and maturity.
When Immaturity Becomes Evident
In the daily lives of many adults, it's quite possible to observe immaturity among relatives, friends and co-workers, who are part of their adult peerage. The problem is that maturity has arrived far later than in the last millennium.
Today, one is considered an adult at age 30. Fifty years ago, the age of maturity was 21. In the early 1900s, 16 was the eligible age for marriage. Enter the maturity conundrum. Does maturity come full circle? Perhaps, it does. When 16 years old was the eligible age for marriage, with that eligibility came enormous responsibility, accepted readily and taken for granted.
In the new millennium, maturity at age 16 is considered a child and therefore, lacking in the need for adult responsibility. The shadow of error regarding maturity and mature responsibility is clear. Maturity is deeply embedded in the need to be responsible for one's behavior, decisions and actions.
When should children learn responsibility? Many senior citizens, born into large families, recall their duties and responsibilities as early as pre-school age. Today, parents expect very little in the way of matured responsibility from their children until they are in college.
Responsibility in children can't mature if it is non-existent. Discipline is important. More important is teaching a child early in life the seriousness of their responsibilities, if they are to be matured minded decision makers later in their lives.
The media today is glutted with all manner of immaturity that is all too evident. Part of this may be due to economics of remaining in parents' homes until age thirty.
More obvious is immature behavior of middle aged and older adults who should know better. If there is anything more obnoxious than a 50-something acting like a child of 6 years old, it's hard to imagine.
Loss of mental maturity may occur in adults suffering from elder dementia or Alzheimers, two very horrendous diseases. While their elder bodies may still be in perfect physical condition, their minds have regressed due to disease that completely vacates memory. Their inability to be in full charge of caring for themselves forces a dependency on others which may predicate a regression to more childlike behavior. This is perfectly excusable and understandable.
A 30-something acting like a child is not excusable in the least. Senior adults do make certain allowances for middle aged lack of experience and wisdom that only experience brings.
When it comes to maturity, it appears that some, not all, believe youth is the only anchor upon which they can retain their sense of self-satisfaction. In that dire need for youthfulness lies the lack of maturity. The odd perception in today's peerage is that to be "young" is the sole goal of life.
In reality, that addiction to youth may be well an undoing when the reality of aging is no longer in the distant future. It's one thing to want a youthful appearance. It's quite another to act immature to try to hang onto youth that's long gone. Acting like a teen at age 50 only creates an unseemly outward appearance.
Being youthful in mind has less to do with acting younger than it does with keeping the mature mind abreast of the world around us.
The Mature Mind
Breathe the word "mature" to anyone under the age of 60 and the connotation is that of Rip Van Winkle with a long white beard, useless and no longer viable emerges. To the shock of many of the middle age, Boomers are a total convolution of the expected Grandmas and Grandpas of yesteryear. Boomers today sense the resentment of younger generations that they are unwilling to just sit back, silently and hand over life as it exists to the next generation.
Perhaps, their concepts of aging are skewed. If GenXers, GenYers and Millennials were expecting age 60 to somehow be the cut off age for existence, their concepts of hanging on to their own youthfulness has done them a grave disservice. No human goes from teenybopper to senior based on reaching a specific birthday. The mature mind, as most understand it, is one that can see two sides of issues clearly, make sound decisions based on facts and truth and proceed to contribute to the society in which they live.
The Mind of Maturity
The state of mind that allows for full development of mental faculties is one borne of stable mental health, free of extremity and bias. The phrase, "operating on all cylinders" is an example of total mental expansion of the mind of maturity. A quick glance of media reports and interaction with social media shows a serious loss of minds of maturity at present.
Mature minds, even those as young as six years old, know when they are observing childish behavior and tantrums. Children have an innate sense of right and wrong. More's the pity many adults do not. Children base their understanding of right and wrong on their primordial sense of conscience.
Adults often pit their conscience against their sense of free will. Which poses the question of, "Is childhood dependency the reason children's sense of conscience is more prominent?" If so, this begs the next question, "Is adult independence the cause of lack of conscience in the adult immature?"
A child is always guided by the examples of parental behavior with regard to learning responsibility. An adult should possess all of the necessary skills to know responsibility without debate over right or wrong.
A Test of the Mature Mind
There are basically only a few questions to test the maturity of an individual's mind. Are we guided more by our will or by our sense of conscience? Is our sense of responsibility relegated only to issues we "want" to confront and not those we "must" confront? To what level of our personal responsibility to we owe to our maturing minds?
Determining Maturity in the Millennium
It should be no more difficult to determine maturity in the millennium than at any other time in chronological history. All of the examples of childish behavior and willfulness are before us in numerous historical archives. It may be beneficial to be regularly reminded that for every decision, every action, every childish tantrum and behavior, there is a price to pay. The price may be paid sooner if the consequences appear more readily; or, the price may appear later in our lives when we see the reflection of our own immaturity in the actions, decisions and behaviors of our children.