Sunday, September 5, 2010

What Does it Mean to Grow Up?

The title of today's post is is taken from Dr. Gerald Stein's article, "Signs of Maturity: What Does It Mean to Grow Up?"  http://tinyurl.com/2bhvcol

Here are a couple of paragraphs about men and maturity.

"Let the last words on the subject of being a grown-up (and much more) go to Adlai Stevenson II, in his 1954 speech at the senior class dinner of his Alma Mater, Princeton University. These 55-year-old words spoken by the 54-year-old Stevenson are as appropriate now as then:
"…What a man knows at fifty that he did not know at twenty is, for the most part, incommunicable. The laws, the aphorisms, the generalizations, the universal truths, the parables and the old saws—all of the observations about life which can be communicated handily in ready, verbal packages—are as well-known to a man at twenty who has been attentive as to a man at fifty. He has been told them all, he has read them all, and he has probably repeated them all before he graduates from college; but he has not lived them all.
What he knows at fifty that he did not know at twenty boils down to something like this: The knowledge he has acquired with age is not the knowledge of formulas, or forms of words, but of people, places, actions—a knowledge not gained by words but by touch, sight, sound, victories, failures, sleeplessness, devotion, love—the human experiences and emotions of this earth and of oneself and other men; and perhaps, too, a little faith, and a little reverence for things you cannot see…"
Yes, that was a long time ago when "men" was retroactively said to mean men and women, but this particular quote does not seem so much applicable to men as to women. We do people best, faith more, and reverence for things you cannot see, a lot.

With no specific gender recognition of his advice , Gerald Stein makes a pertinent comment more specific to women than Stevenson's comment was to men — at least from my viewpoint.

"Accepting and liking oneself is a part of being a grown-up. Not that you don’t need to or want to change, but to appreciate what is good about yourself and to accept some of the inevitable limitations to which all of us are prone. Not to avoid self-improvement, but to avoid self-denigration."

We learned negative self-talk at 11 or 12. Let's unlearn it at 21 or 22, not 61 or 62.

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