Have you ever considered the subtle difference between an adult and a grown-up? Which would you rather be? This isn’t really a trick question. Webster’s dictionary defines a grown-up as “characteristic of adults” whereas it defines an adult as “fully developed and mature.” Dave Barry says you can only be young once, but you can be immature forever.” This quote is funny because there is certainly a hint of truth in it. The movie series Grown-ups and Grown-ups 2 are perfect venues for comedians to appeal to the desire in everyone to be a kid.
There is another side to grown-ups and adults. I have several friends that are highly successful in business, and are mature in almost every way. Yet they still owe their personalities, quirks, and sibling rivalries to their childhood. Think about your own childhood—your interactions with your brothers and sisters, or perhaps how you saw your parents interact, or who your heroes were and why. Do you now imitate the same patterns today as a grown-up? Of course you do. In many ways these patterns are incredibly funny, but they can be very sad as well. Victims of divorce or child abuse often repeat the same patterns in adult life.
There are essentially three things any parent should be doing in raising children:
- Keeping them safe and alive
- Establishing healthy practices and values
- Nurturing them with love and guiding them toward their goals
Did you know that one of the most traumatic times in your adult life is when you lose your last parent? This is because there is no longer an adult parent to turn to in your life. I suggest that one of the best things you can do for yourself is to continue to balance your child-self (now grown-up) in your life with your adult-self who is supposed to watch over him. To do so is to understand the difference between them. Once you do, here is the perfect combination:
- Listen to the child when it comes to remembering how to imagine, capturing the passions you once held, and living each day with a completely open mind to the possibilities.
- Listen to the adult when you find senseless, illogical, or even dangerous urges or patterns driving your decisions
As logical as we adults may act at times when we are required to do, there is still a child lurking inside all of us. Master the art of effectively being both, and you’ll be amazing!