On Being a Mature Person

“The most dangerous thing one can do is to stop growing as a person.”

November 27, 1966

In optimal situations, life moves from childhood (total dependence) to adolescence (self-care and maintenance) to adulthood (investing our lives in others and in great causes). In Rabbi Olan’s day, as well as in ours, this progression toward maturity (adulthood) can be interrupted, to the person’s and society’s detriment.

Maturation is a life-long process of growth. “Immaturity is arrested growth.” While it is natural for a child to be dependent and an adolescent to be concerned only with their own needs, perilous times like the 1960s and the 2020s demand that as many adults as possible “grow up” to focus their energies on the welfare of others. A healthy society depends on its people moving from a getting mentality to a giving mentality. Political leaders who think and act immaturely (selfishly) do cause, and will cause, great harm.

“In its most mature form, love is to give everything and ask for nothing.”

In this deeply meaningful message, Rabbi Olan called his listeners to grow up personally, politically, and also religiously. An immature faith system stuck in spiritual childhood or adolescence can also do great harm. “Mature religion moves from a concentration on personal salvation to a larger worldview. It relates a man to all creatures, it unites him with the unity of the universe.”

I invite you to listen to this sermon (or read it) and then reflect on your life. Do you sense that you are growing toward emotional and spiritual maturity? If not, what is blocking your progress? What life changes might put you back on the path of life-long growth?

Follow this link to read the sermon text.
Follow this link to listen to the audio recording.
Follow this link to watch the scrolling-text video.

*Written by Timothy S. Binkley*