Even as adults we act like children at times. Complaints, petty arguments, tit for tat, easily irritated, shifting responsibility, taking our ball and going home and the list could go on. When we were young we looked at grown ups as being wise and mature. As grownups we realize that we're not always wise or mature but sometimes behave like adolescents.
So I've been pondering the difference between children and grownups and suggest the following about living as a grownup.
Grownups deal with their stuff. We all have stuff to deal with - lots of it from our childhoods. Maybe we were not raised by perfect parents (who is?), or suffered some sort of trauma early in life or have some sort of failure in our past (It happens). Kids often hang on to baggage because they don't know how to handle it but grownups deal with it. You can only live with excuses for one's stuff for so long. Then it is time to deal with it and put it behind! Whatever it is, grownups deal with their stuff.
Grownups take personal responsibility. Kids easily play the blame game. Some adults have been known to as well (think Eve, and Adam). Real grownups take responsibility when they blow it and work to make things right. All of us make choices and some of them are wrong. Adults admit, make right and change course when it happens.
Grownups control their emotions. Sure grownups cry and get sad and experience great joy. What they don't do is fly off the handle, live with anger problems, say things that they cannot take back or treat others with less than honor. They have learned to control their negative emotions - those that hurt others and accentuate positive emotions - those that build others up.
Grownups use their money responsibly. Kids often love to spend money. Grownups love to save money and they have the discipline to put off purchases until they have the funds rather than living off of credit card debt. Instant gratification is a kid thing. Delayed gratification is doing the adult thing. Sorry for meddling on that one.
Grownups live in reality. We don't always like the realities with which we live but mature adults accept those realities and deal with them - whatever they are. We have all met people who try to ignore reality and responsibility. Grownups don't! We may try to change our reality (getting out of debt or dealing with other issues) but we don't ignore reality. Walter Mitty fantasies are for children, not grownups.
Grownups foster personal discipline. As children, a disciplined life was not a high value for most of us. For adults, it is the grownup thing to do. Disciplines with God, with work, with family, with ministry and even rest and recreation. There is no maturity without ongoing personal discipline.
My conclusion is that some grownups are not really grownups. But I want to be one. And there are always areas where we as grownups need to continue to grow up - with the help and empowerment of God's Spirit.