Friday, March 26, 2010

Why Does It Take So Long for Children to Grow Up?

Horses drop out and start walking around... even elephants stick with their parents only a few years... We are neither the largest nor most numerous of all of God's creation yet we take the longest to grow up.  It takes forever to teach a child to walk and then you wonder why you rushed it.  It takes forever to potty train a child and it takes longer before they appreciate all your efforts.  You may send them out into the world (or college at least) at age 18 but parents are never sure their children are really ready or mature.  You watch them get a job and get married and we wonder how they will do it... But nowhere in nature does this angst and turmoil take place over decades the way it does among us children of men.

Why?   Why would God design is so (or are you ready to chalk it all up to sin and its effects)?

Could it be that this was by God's design?  Could be God's intention that we people take so long to grow and mature before we stand on our own?  If so, why?

I had been pondering this question for some time (being a parent of three children and having been a child myself once still) when I realized that the home is the place where we (are meant to) learn of God.  The home is the principal religious school of the Hebrews and of us Christians.  I am not all suggesting the Church is optional or non-essential but that the first place I learned God's love was through my parents actions and words.  It was in their care for me that I first felt the embrace of God's love and the warmth of His merciful touch.  It was from them I learned to call Him Father and to pray "Our Father..."  It was from them I learned of the cross and what took place there for me and my salvation through Jesus Christ.  It was from them I learned to call Jesus MY Lord as their faith taught my own heart to believe by the power of the Spirit.  It was from them I learned that faith's values extend to the way we speak and live.  It was from them I found forgiveness was not just a word.  It was from them I learned to call God's House my own home.  It was my parents who brought me to the waters of baptism, brought me to Sunday school and catechism class, who took me with them to the services of God's House, who taught me to be responsible for that house by giving it respect and care as the special place of His Word and Sacraments...

Is this chance or was this by design?  The home was meant to be the primary place where faith is imparted, nurtured, and it matures IN CONJUNCTION with the Church.  Was this not the case for Jesus who was born into a home of faith, nurtured in that faith, and introduced to the Temple and synagogue by Joseph and Mary?  Is this not what Luther understood when he wrote the catechism for parents to teach their children?  Is the home not the strength (or by its absence) the weakness of the Church?

No, God knew what He was doing in making it take so long for children to grow up and mature and leave home to establish their own... It was by God's design that the home might be that place where a child is raised in the faith so that he or she will not depart from it but carry it with them wherever they go.  They may choose to reject what has been given to them as a gift but they cannot erase what faith has placed in them.  This was God's plan all along...

When we find that the home fails to provide what God intended, we find the weak link that proves a large barrier to Christian faith and life.  It is not enough to do all other things well in raising your children only to leave out what equips them for eternal life in additional to earthly life.  Ultimately, unless we are prepared for eternity, we are handicapped for this present life.  So encourage parents in their godly role and purpose as agents of faith and, parents, be encouraged in this most important part of who you are and what you are to do... it is a great blessing and benefit that lasts long after we as parents are gone...

1 comment:

Dr.D said...

Growing up is a complex process. There is the emotional maturing that enables a young adult to take charge of his own life and stand on his own two feet, making his own decisions and taking responsibility for his life. There is the matter of making vocational and educational choices and seeing them through. There is also included within this the ability to make the proper spiritual decisions, to know how to chose a wife (or husband), to establish a new Christian home and all of the spiritual dimensions that go with that. The whole process of growing up has many sides to it.

If we compare how young people are behaving today with say 50 years ago, it appears to be fairly plain that they are maturing much later. They are extending adolescence into their 20s, with many of them still living at home even after finishing college, the military, etc. Instead of a desire to be "grown up" and to take their place in society as full members of society, they have opted for an extended period of play and lack of responsibility. They see no need to shoulder the responsibilities of adult society when they can just live at home, have fun, engage in casual sex, and continue their teenage years but with a much higher income than before.

In answer to your original question, "why does it take them so long to grow up?" I think the answer is that society has chosen to indulge them in the manner described in the previous paragraph, and had thereby encouraged their failure to growup.