Beyond What is Physical
What comes to your mind when you think of the word development? Expansion? Physical growth? Reaching a higher ground? The truth is, there are various aspects to consider than just physical development, be it of a child or anything else.
However, development has been construed to the idea of something growing in a physical sense. So how can one measure development that is not restricted to physical growth? Well, to assess a child’s mental growth, we would likely use maturity as a tool.
Maturity is characterized as the capacity to react to one's surroundings by understanding the appropriate setting to respond to and understanding when to act, given the conditions and cultural setting in which one lives.
The definition should be enough to make you think, “Well, this is why not everyone is mature.”
Baby L, for example, was born immature. For better or worse, his maturity levels rest in the hands of his parents for the first part of his life. Sure, he will undoubtedly mature each day by absorbing new concepts, but maturity comes in many forms. We’ll learn more about these forms in later phases of the development process.
The truth is, not everyone matures or develops the same mentally. So how is this a constraint in growth, and how does it inhibit a person’s ability to be mindful of their actions in life? The answer is – When an individual does not develop properly due to circumstances or negligence in supervision and understanding when growing up, that individual’s maturity level will differ from others around them.
To put it simply, each of us goes through a different path in life—our circumstances play an integral role in our physical and mental development. But when a slight disruption happens, for whatever reason, it affects our growth.
Now instead of going into how that happens, let’s take another route. Let’s understand how the growth process of a child and adult differs so we will be equipped with the knowledge to deal with our set of actions.
While a child is not expected to behave properly when growing up, an adult is. Childhood is the stage that precedes a learning phase where adults school children on acting appropriately. But have you ever wondered what happens to a child whose parent or guardian is not mature themselves? Either that child grows up with difficulties and the inability to respond to situations properly, or that child leapfrogs its parents and miraculously grows up to be innately much more mature.
So what leads to this drastic shift? What makes the child either follow in the footsteps of the one who nurtured them or learn from their mistakes? To find the answer, we need to understand the difference between a child’s development and an adult’s development.
Spoiler alert: Baby L becomes undoubtedly much more mature than his parents. More on that later.