Thursday, February 7, 2013

Grown-Ups vs. Adults

When I work from home, I usually have the television on. Through the course of the day, a parade of talk shows and judge shows march across the screen. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the drama play out … and there is always drama. There are questions of paternity, accusations and confirmation of infidelity, lie detectors and all kinds of questionable behavior. It occurred to me as I was watching that these people, while grown in size, were far from being what I would consider an adult.

Unfortunately, these people don’t just exist on television and know a few in my own life – people who look like adults but act like children. Here are three ways you can tell Adults – those who have matured and experienced mental and emotional growth along with physical growth – and Grown-Ups – those who have only grown physically and who live in a state of emotional and physical immaturity.

  1. Adults know the difference between wants and needs. You need some form of transportation, a roof over your head, clothes on your back and a means to acquire these things for yourself and your family. Adults focus first on needs and then turn their attention to wants – things that are nice but not necessary. Grown-ups and children confuse the terms. They focus on what they want and, for them, a want becomes a need when it is something they really, really, really want! You need clothes, you want specific designer clothes. You need a roof over your head, you want a 5-bedroom house in a certain ZIP code. You need transportation. You want a Mercedes.

    Adults work for what they need and then concentrate on the wants. Grown-ups want to do work that helps them get the things they want because that work might be fun. They aren’t as enthusiastic about working to meet their needs (the fun factor there is usually a lot lower). A lot of grown-ups expect the adults around them to meet their needs so they can focus on their wants … just like children.
  2. Adults know actions have consequences. A leads to B. You shouldn’t be surprised when B comes after A. Adults consider the consequences before they act. So if A leads to B and you don’t want B then don’t engage in A. To use a common talk show theme, sex (A) can lead to pregnancy (B). So if someone engages in unprotected sex and a pregnancy results, no one should be terribly surprised. Adults look at the possible consequences and make their decision. In another example, a woman is working at a job she dislikes (A). She gets into an argument with her boss and quits (B), right then and there. Now, she doesn’t have any income but she still has bills, needs food and has to pay rent.

    Sometimes the consequences are such that the adult will pass on the immediate pleasure, be it sex or telling off a boss, because the consequences, or possible consequences are too great.
  3. Adults know the Blame Game when they see it. “It’s not my fault!” Kids say it all of the time and so do Grown-ups. Their problems are always caused by someone else. The word ‘accountability’ does not enter the Grown-ups vocabulary. Adults know, even if it really isn’t there fault, they will probably have to clean up the mess and sitting around whining about it won’t change a thing.  There might have been a series of really good reasons why the credit card balance has now exceeded the limit. Adults know they have to pay it anyway. 
This is not to say that adults are perfect, far from it. Do adults play The Blame Game some times? Certainly, they do. Do adults some times act without considering the consequences? No doubt about it, we all can get caught up in the moment. Then again, there are times when we fixate on what we really want. Yet, the balance of the time, adults are the people that do what needs to be done, even when they don’t want to and don’t feel like it.

Adults make the world go round.

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