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                                                 GROWING UP

When does a child become an adult? Legally, we are recognized as adults at 16 or 18 years old, but does natural maturation (physical and mental) cause the actual loss of childhood before or after that time for many of us?
I felt like my childhood ended when I was 17, with the news of the death of my father. ) 1979) Historically, many children were obliged to grow up and work like adults due to social necessity. The Black Death wiped out half of the world population. In many communities the children had to plough and harvest because there were too few adults left to do the work. Infancy has always been respected in history, - There have been archaeological discoveries of baby’s rattles and other comforting toys, (Julie Neuberger The Moral Stare We're In) do we mature naturally or does it take some serious crisis to blast us into adulthood? My betting is that it is.

Thanks for so many lovely, often brave personal observations on this question, especially Jenny and Scary Fairy who are undergoing such a personal family crisis at present, and responding to it with all due maturity - From the readings, maturity comes from external changes around us, not necessarily as traumatic as a bereavement, but usually with some burden of responsibility - i.e., my dad's death led everyone to say things like 'you're the man of the house now' and 'look after your mother'. It really hit home a month after his death when I inherited his role for giving the bride away at my sister's wedding, where I was able to give a speech not only for her but as a tribute to my dad too
Interesting to see the references to being childish and child like by adults here - I don't think maturity ever needs to exclude fun or escapism - I have a lot of fun dressing up in 17th century pikeman's uniforms to take part in serious English Civil War Re0enactments. Re-enactment. I still play with toys, being grown up needn't take away our sense of wonder - I still have that I think maturity is 1/. Realising that the world is not always kind to us and bad things happen to good people. 2/. Taking on responsibility, sometimes in a sudden crisis. 3/. Learning when to be child like and when it is as the Bible, says 'time to put away childish things'.

 

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