Posted on the door of my studio was a sign that I scrawled out on a piece of paper. It says, “Screaming, “I am an adult” means that you are NOT!!”
I took it down because I felt it contained a negative message and the fact that I saw it every time I entered the room did not put me in the positive mood I try to maintain. SO, the note came down, but the message still rings true in our house.
Our son turned 18 in October. It has been a journey since then. He has battled with us and probably with himself over if he truly is an adult or not. We should’ve expected this process to involve more than the date on the calendar. Though we celebrated his birthday with family and friends the Sunday prior, he celebrated his actual birthday while my husband and I attended a church meeting. A typical Thursday night, we return home from the meeting and our house smells like cigar smoke. WHAT?! We don’t allow cigar smoking in our house. But, his reply was, “I’m allowed. I’m 18!” We’ve been trying to teach him the difference between being legal and being allowed ever since. He’s taken up smoking, enjoys R-rated movies even more and buys an occasional lottery ticket. He does all of these things for the thrill of showing off his state ID (He doesn’t have a drivers’ license.) He loves to show others that he truly is an adult. That’s what the laminated card proves!
I wish it were that easy. I wish we knew what stage in life we were in simply based on our chronological age. It would sure take the guess work out of things. We would enter school at age 6, no wondering if we should send kids on the younger side of the cut-off date. School would be entered at 6. Three would be the age that kids were allowed to view television, potty training would be successful at 2, iPods could be gifted at 12, iPhones at 14, ears pierced at 10, learners’ permit at 15.5, license at 16.5, dating at 16, etc. I think it would be wonderful if maturity simply matched actual age. It would save me from quoting things like, “You are acting like a two-year-old,” and “That looks like it was done by a toddler.” Not to mention, “I don’t care if she has a cell phone or not, you aren’t old enough to have one.” There is definitely a lot of gray area in all of this.
So, my son is an adult. The government says he is. (He is, however, an adult who is still not able to consume alcohol.) I think instead of a State ID to deem this, though, we should have a Maturity ID. I read a great definition of maturity. Maturity is: The ability to stick with a job until it’s finished; The ability to do a job without being supervised; The ability to carry money without spending it; and The ability to bear an injustice without wanting to get even. When he can achieve that I’ll get him the laminated statement of his adulthood. Heck, I’ll even engrave it on a medal for him to wear around town. I am so looking forward to him becoming an adult and a mature adult at that!