Becoming an Adult: the True Signs of Maturity

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Becoming an Adult: The True Signs of Maturity

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What makes someone an adult? Is it being 18 when you can legally vote or turning 25 when the brain is fully developed? Sometimes marriage, parenting, having a job, or being financially independent are milestones that are considered the peak of adulthood. Emerging adulthood, which is what people aged 18-25 are known as, is a period where the decisions they make will impact their future. Young people are bombarded with images, expectations, and desires. With that in mind, parents and mentors have an opportunity to advise and mentor these young people. Listening to wise and godly advice can keep a young person’s life heading in the right direction. That being said, Godly advice is only beneficial if it falls on an open heart.

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The reason that I chose to do my research paper on this topic is that I believe this subject is often overlooked in our cultures. I believe that good advice can make young people evaluate their decisions and hopefully improve them. Being a young adult myself, I have learned many interesting facts and views on the phase of life that I am in right now. Many emerging adults tend to think that it is not necessarily “cool” to take wise advice when they are trying to show off the bells and whistles of their new car. Advice can be viewed as inconvenient, not needed and preachy. I wrote this paper to help you understand how advice can benefit an emerging adult.

Turning 18, with all its glory and freedom, is met full force with responsibilities and expectations. Being an adult is so much more then numbers, but few believe that. People expect more from an adult then they do from an adolescent or a child. With expectations come responsibilities. Responsibilities keep growing as one accomplishes and proves he is mature enough to handle new challenges. One familiar expectation is for many young adults to purse a higher education. To commit and receive a degree requires personal responsibility. Having responsibilities is part of becoming an adult. “Our culture really focuses on youth and success, and many of us feel that we have to be fabulously successful by age 30 or we’re failures”. I find that quote to be true, culture does pressure society to be successful, but they fail to include all the cons that come with it. Examples of such can include, debt, poor health, and depression. Although it’s true, the statement “I’m an adult, therefore I can do whatever I want” is a dangerous attitude to carry. That attitude is harmful in the way that it breeds entitlement. Entitlement taints the person they are and is a terribly selfish way to get your desires. Some people unknowingly over praise their kids and stress being self -important. These factors into entitlement too.

It is naturally assumed that once adolescence is behind teens, that the body is done developing. That assumption is only half true as the brain still has work to complete. Many young people can become targets of their still maturing brains. Beginning at age 6, the brain looses gray matter and continually replaces it with white matter. White matter is what enables the brain to function properly. It also helps with planning and decision making. For young adults that are still receiving white matter, their brains can’t properly analyze and respond in the way that is meant to. That doesn’t mean that they should get away with certain things and use the maturing brain as an excuse. Young adults, like any one else, must respond to certain issues in life, given their conditions. There is still parenting work to do, even when your child is grown. Even with the brain still developing there are certain behaviors that can help parents. If you find something to praise your young adult for that helps build confidence in their skills and they will be encouraged to try something else. In conclusion, the body looks like a normal adult, but there is still inside work being accomplished.

Should I go or not? If I do go will it be beneficial in the long run? People of all ages, backgrounds, and beliefs are all met with the issue of priorities. Meaning level of importance, priorities are how people choose to spend their time, money, and energy. If they prioritize something, then it typically takes the top of their list and isn’t easily removed. Beginning in emerging adulthood, young adults have certain priorities to prioritize. There simply isn’t enough time in life to do everything. If they prioritize spending time with their family, then they must cut out other activities to make room for that priority. Priorities effect every aspect of people’s lives, as they are always making and acting upon those decisions.

A sure sign of maturity is becoming an adult of integrity. Having integrity means that you don’t let down your standards for someone else. Men in the Bible were recognized for having integrity, even when no one was watching. When people display integrity, others will take notice and might want what they see. Having someone in their lives with integrity helps young adults to cultivate it in their own lives. Sometimes young people want all that their parents have but have worked their whole lives to obtain. This often results in a mess when they purse something that takes decades to obtain. I have been writing a lot on what young adults should aspire to do, yet I think that young adults are the best of mentors to younger people. Usually adolescents and kids look up to young adults and want to be just like that. It’s the young adults job to help teach the younger generation. All in all, whatever people do good to each other, they do towards our creator.

Has someone ever told you that you need to be humbler? Being humble goes against everything in human nature. As humans, we get so caught up with ourselves and how wonderful we view ourselves. That is extremely true for young people, who tend to imagine themselves braver, stronger and more important then they really are. Humbleness comes from inside a heart. It’s really a desire to remove your pride and open your ears and heart. Being humble shows that you truly are willing to listen and heed good advice. People are always offering their two cents worth of advice and it can be really discouraging sometimes. But, they usually just want to save you from making rash decisions and seeing you succeed. You can’t be humble and full of pride and self- importance at the same time.

“Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.” As the Bible notes, listening to ones’ parents and other adults is the way to gain wisdom. I find this to be so true! Many times, young adults think that they know best and thinking like an old person is no fun. Older adults have more wisdom and hindsight then younger ones. It’s not a degradation to younger adults, it’s just a fact that older adults are more level headed and mature in their choices. Another benefit with that is that they can share their experiences and invest in the lives of the next generation of adults. God desires for us to yearn for wisdom. So much that he says wisdom is to be more treasured then gold! Think on that, modern day gold is basically money. Money can be used for so much, but it can’t buy wisdom. Wisdom is one of God’s greatest gifts people can gain if they listen. There are promises that are ensured for those who obey their parents. In the book of Ephesians God tells us to obey our parents and we will be rewarded with a long life. This is the first commandment with a promise.

Another benefit of obeying and respecting one’s parents is the relationship. A young person’s relationship with their parents will blossom if both sides listen and work together. Just like anything else, your relationship must be maintained. Most parents warn their kids about certain things because they love us and want to save us from the pain that they endured. Although it’s helpful for both sides to help the other, parents should avoid intervening in every conflict of their child’s life. They need to learn how to handle conflicts and temptations on their own. Young adults should be wise enough to know that they don’t know everything. That takes humbleness, all these characters are intertwined and a must in the life of a Christian.

When people think of being guided many images may come to mind. One image might be of a young child holding on to an adult’s hand and trusting that they will help them reach their destination. While being guided doesn’t mean having someone always holding your hand, it does mean others are involved. Everyone is guided by someone, whether they are aware or not. It is not a responsibility to take lightly. Guiding someone doesn’t mean taking over and making the decision, doing the job or responsibility themselves. Guiding is being there to offer encouragement, advice, and different perspectives. It helps keep others on the straight and narrow path. Sadly, young adults tend to stray from this path, so guidance is extremely important. There are things that others can advise you from that can save young adults from some irreversible consequences. An example of this is that my dad is guided by God, he in turn guides me. I guide my siblings and other young girls.

Mentors are people that you aspire to be like. They can model good behaviors through actions, choices, and words. Parents are the best role models, since they know their children better than anyone else does. Some people never had a good family to glean such behaviors from. As that shows, many children grow up modeling what they grew up with. This mannerism follows the family tree down the generations. If someone never had good parents they might look up to a friend, pastor, or a trusted relative. These are good additions, but nothing can really replace a parent’s loving advice. Parents try to help their young adults live better then they did. My mentors have influenced my life and helped make me who I am today. Some of my biggest cheerleaders in life have been my parents, except they did more then cheer. They got down with the good, bad, and the ugly of me. One of the reasons that I look up to them is because they have my best interests at heart. Being open and honest with me is how they taught me to be with all areas of life. My parents are compassionate and want to help me avoid the mistakes that they have made. Although my parents aren’t perfect, they give me the best that they are able to. That’s all we can really ask of anyone.

Another mentor in my life has been my church family. This type of family is an eternal picture. People invest what Really matters into me. A church body brings the body of Christ to life by being his hands and feet. That is usually a vague term but picture an actual human body. Some talents are different, like computer technology and carpentry. Just as the arm and nose are different but have important jobs. In the end, everything works together for the good of Christ and builds his name higher. Churches are important because they support their members through the tidal waves of life. Many leaders in the church build into young children, teens and adults. The mentors encourage everyone to put aside their differences and work together with one goal in mind. That goal is that we are all Christians worshipping the same God.

Just as a shepherd herds his sheep, so does a pastor herd his flock. He can herd his congregation, but humans have free will and will do as they want. A pastor is the asset of the church and makes all his decisions for the best, regarding God and his members best interests. The world of friends is a world of opportunity. This world is the one where people make all the choices. Whomever they choose to surround themselves with will influence their lives. Friends are an important part of life, people whom you share life’s celebrations and sadness with. There is a well known saying that has been around for a long time. Even though I don’t know how old it is, it’s saying still holds true for this present day. “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” That holds more truth then we initially give it credit for. When you are a young adult, take note of the “young” part. It’s like a young tree, hardier then a seedling, but not as strong as a full-grown tree. It requires braces to keep the tree growing straight. That brace is a wiser adult who has insight to keep the tree pointing its leaves in the right direction. Friends can influence someone on either side of the spectrum. It is wise to choose friends that build into you and keep you looking up. Younger adults are more prone to fall and give in to peer pressure then older adults. Research shows that young adults are prone to do something if it is encouraged by a peer, for good or bad. This is partially due to the brain still developing as I noted before, but once someone is committed to a situation it is hard to change their minds. My friends build me up in Christ and help me be a better daughter, sister, and Christian.

Advice is just that; advice. It’s up to the person receiving the advice to decide whether to use it. Not all advice is good, nor is all advice bad. It is up to people to sift through the advice and choose the best ones. I have personally received advice from my parents, pastor, and other mentors in my life. Some of the advice that has stuck with me is to always guard my heart. The reason that is so important is because the heart is the well of life. It affects everything that you do. Guarding your heart can be used in a sense that you don’t allow harmful things to fester in your life. This is also true around marriage, once your heart is given away you can’t get it back. Reading the Bible daily is some other advice I have received. It is helpful in the sense that it connects you to the director of your life. This is a verse that a friend encouraged me with and It reminds me that no matter your past, age, or abilities that God can use you. “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, faith, love, conduct, and purity.”

There are many negatives to not comprehending the importance of money. Parent and Ende’s book, “How to Raise Your Adult Children” states that “It’s tempting to avoid thinking about money until we have to… but that’s not the mature way to handle the money subject.” Money is often a prickly subject that most young adults are expected to master by themselves. It is the subject that seems to be pushed under the living room rug and forgotten about. There usually is the excuse that there isn’t enough time to explain it and it gets pushed back farther. When people are young, they can set their lives up for investments, retirement, or bankruptcy. Saving for retirement is a great investment for young adults. They can put in a steady amount and retire without scrambling at last minute. But most often the case is that young adults don’t want to think about retirement at the prime of their life. Then when they need the money, typically there isn’t much time left to save.

Whether it’s wanted or not, advice is a part of life. Many young adults will flourish when they accept advice. This period is the best time of life to develop the character traits that stay with a person his whole adulthood. As I stated, choices made in this period of life will affect the rest of their lives. This research paper has helped me to understand the depths of the young adult’s views on many branches of life. If you take anything away from this paper, please remember that young adults are just like anyone else. They need patience, encouragement, and advice! I hope this helps bring some of the lifelong benefits of advice to young adults to light.

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