Grow Up

April 8, 2011
“Grow up.” We have all heard this before. Whether it came from a parent or a friend, their opinion of our behavior is apparent. Being immature or acting like a kid is often discouraged. Well-behaved people are taken more seriously and listened to more closely. This ideal of maturity has been sewn into our community for as long as history has been able to record it.
Maturity has many characteristics society values. Thinking ahead and planning for the future goes hand-in-hand with being mature. Teens are encouraged, as early as 8th grade, to think about the future. They must decide what they want to be when they grow up, what colleges they want to apply to, how they will support themselves after college, and so on. There is little time to enjoy the present when teens are pushed, not only by parents, but by teachers and peers to plan their future out. There are many flaws with this ideal, and I believe that it robs teens of their childhood,

Coming into high school, students are bombarded with questions about careers and what they plan on majoring in in college. Parents are planning college visits for their 16 year olds and pressuring them to choose a certain path of education. Please humor me for a moment. What did you want to be when you were 16? 17? 18? What were your passions then? Now look at your life right now. What do you do? What are your passions now? I would bet that they have changed, even a little bit, since you blew out those 16 candles on your birthday cake. So why do you think that a teen could be so sure about the future? A teenager can’t make such final decisions without testing the waters. Let them be impulsive; let them be immature for the time being. The big decisions they make will be much more concrete if they are left to act their age.
Medical research has shown that the human brain does not mature completely until the age of 25 or so. How is an 18 year old expected to act like an adult when it’s possible that they physically can’t? Research has also shown that teens process information differently than an adult does, so to say “grow up” to a teenager is like telling a pregnant woman to go into labor. It takes time for the human brain to grow, just like it takes time for a baby to grow. No one rushes a woman to go into labor, so why should we rush teenagers into growing up?
Letting a teenager enjoy being curious and trying new things will lend itself to the maturing of their decisions and behavior. Society expects so much from a human so young, which takes away the joys of impulsiveness acknowledged in being a child. Teenagers will naturally mature, so please, stop being so impatient. Have faith in the youthful society. Experience always leads to wisdom and don’t you want the next leaders of society to be experienced?

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