An important topic that parents and teens often discuss is what is, or is not, mature. Parents and teens do not have the same idea about what maturity actually means.
Teens think that maturity means having the following things:
- Freedom to go, do what you want, when, where, how you want.
- Owning your own car, having a girlfriend or boyfriend.
- Leaving home for college or getting your own apartment.
Parents think maturity means doing it their way but with your own money:
- You do what they think you should do (clean room, do your chores, be nice, go to church… whatever)
- You finally get a job and start paying for your own car, girlfriend, stuff, etc.
- Eventually, you get your own home, and your own kids to argue with.
Let's consider what God thinks about maturity:
1. You want to do what He wants. The key is that you want what He wants, not because your parents want this, or because you are afraid, but actually, because you want to do what pleases God. And you would obey Him no matter what your parents or friend thought.
2. Giving to others what belongs to you so others can grow and develop: so they can mature.
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
- John 12:24
The point is that true maturity is seen when one realizes that they have the ability to help others and use what they have to do so. Coaching, counseling, sharing, providing an example, giving to help something grow. This is a true sign of maturity.
3. When you realize this earth is not a final stop. If "all you want to do is have some fun" as the song says, you don't get it yet! True maturity comes when you realize that heaven or hell is our final stop. Not this place. It's okay to have some fun, but if that's all you want to do, you're in trouble.
Most of the pressure and tension you feel with your parents and they with you is about maturity. When are you going to grow up? The problem is that both teens and parents want the same thing but do not see it the same way. The funny thing is that you want to grow up as much as they want you to!
I suppose the answer will come when both parents and teens work toward maturity in their own lives according to God's view of what is mature. My prayer is that you all mature according to God's view:
- You want to do what He wants.
- You give what you own to help others.
- You're not too comfy here, and live like someone going to heaven.
- As a parent, how do you consciously measure your child's maturing process?
- What, in your opinion, could churches do to encourage teens to be faithful Christians? What do you think they are doing that discourages young people from attending church services?
- What can grandparents do to help mature their grandchildren?