The difference between a juvenile sensibility and an adult one probably has to do with the level of one’s responsibility in their life. …at least, that’s been the case for me.
In many ways – I’m still a big kid. I’m closing in on my mid-thirties, but I still hear things like “you’re too young to be a pastor” or people are surprised I’ve got a toddler at home. I’m a big kid in that I like toys – technology gadgets are more my thing (than, say, boats or cars) – and I get a kick out of silly movies, like ones with Jack Black or Ben Stiller.
But I also have responsibility in my life. My parents instilled that sense of responsibility in us kids in a few ways. We grew up on a hobby farm, so my brother and I tended the goats, as well as a pony and horse, and my sisters (who were a number of years younger) tended some ducks and occasionally the chickens. We also had a big garden, which was mostly my dad’s responsibility, but the whole family contributed to the watering, weeding, and harvesting of it. My mom kind of held it all together – making sure the eggs got washed (by herself or us kids) and sorted to sell; making sure the goat’s milk was stored properly; making sure the beans from the garden were preserved properly, and so on. The farm was good learning for me as I was growing up – giving me responsibility and also a lot of fun!
I moved out on my own in my university years, but it wasn’t a situation where I had responsibility for a house – I rented (of course!). …but I was responsible for getting my homework done, without the prodding of my parents or watchful eye of grade-school teachers; I was responsible for my own laundry, for paying rent, for cooking meals, for getting myself to different appointments, and so on.
Now that I’m married, and a parent, I have responsibility for household expenses, for a certain amount of upkeep of the house, for paying more expenses. And, as a pastor, I have responsibility for things like preparing services on Sundays, being in touch with people in the congregation (especially if they might be ill or unable to go out), and I have a responsibility to be in the community speaking out for marginalized people – words that can challenge people (or even cause me to rethink my place in society).
Without a doubt, I’m not always as disciplined as I’d like to be; and I’m sure there will be bigger responsibilities ahead of me. All of these contribute to my adult place in the world!