Things that make you grow up…

I’ve often heard it said some people “never grow up”. It is said in a humorous way. My wife may say that about me at times. But, many times it is said in a not so funny way, usually speaking of a person’s continued immaturity.

I have another thought. Maybe for some people it is that they have never had an experience that instills maturity in them. It’s possible.

I’ve personally experienced and observed that there are some circumstances in life that bring more automatic maturity…a sort of forced growing up mentality.

Here are 7 things I’ve seen force someone to grow up quickly:


A first child

Sudden authority


Losing a parent

Having to make it on your own


You can mature naturally. You can grow up over time. But, in my experience, you grow up faster when life experience grows you up. You don’t have to grow in these experiences. Some don’t. You either own up to the challenge, or you don’t. But, when you do, you grow up faster. At least, that’s been my observation.

(By the way, that’s why I believe in giving young leaders experience where they can grow. You can read a post about that HERE.)

Have you ever been forced into a new season of maturity? What caused you to suddenly “grow up”?

What would you add to my list?

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20 thoughts on “Things that make you grow up…

  1. I think understanding that one should have a purpose in life and a conscious or subconscious knowledge of the fact that life is a continual path of self improvement also makes us ‘grow up’.

    My partner needs to grow up. I was thinking of encouraging him to go on a trip to a poverty stricken villiage in the Gambia to help out for a few weeks or months. I have a feeling this would have the desired impact.

    Kindest regards


  2. You have no idea how timely your words of wisdom have been for me. I just want to say thank you, thank you for taking the time to post and for caring. I have prayed for you and your wife in your new home. Blessings to you and your family.

  3. Being A Military Mom! I am the mom of a 12 year United States Marine and my daughter is married to a Black Hawk pilot who is currently deployed in Afghanistan. In order to preserve your “mom’s heart” you have to cling to God, dig your roots deeply in His Kingdom. You have “grow through and up”! There is no other way to say it! You child is being shot at every single day and every evil plan imaginable is in play to take them out. So the choice you have is to either lay down in fear and anxiety, keeping an “earthly perspective or “grow through” learning a “kingdom perspective”, that stands up with God’s courage, undergirded by faith and that KNOWS with every evil intent, is a good Kingdom Purpose in play to trump it and bring in the Justice and Provision of AWE-GOD! Between the two of my warriors, I have “grown through and up” through six deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and my earthly perspective continuously takes a back seat to my “Kingdom Perspective”! I have seen God do some amazing things in some horrible situations! He is My HOPE! I am so grateful to be HIS Military Mom! He is the WHOM I am called to 1st!
    Twitter: kmac4him

  4. Ron, this was a fantastic post – keen insights! Personally, the two most dangerous scenarios you painted are the "betrayal" and the "sudden authority" instances. I've seen folks rise and fall with their inability to cope with those two life changes in particular. Great thoughts as always!

  5. Oh yes. When I was 16 I learned about my youth pastor's moral lapse, there was a church split (over unrelated matters) that my dad was involved in (nothing like hearing your dad called Satan), and a family friend told us she had AIDS when she really had Munchausen's. That year forced me to grow up in a lot of ways. And it prepared me well for many situations to come.

  6. Ron, All the ones I think of are variations of those you listed. I think it a pretty thorough list. I have seen a danger on the other side of this though. When people are forced to grow up quickly, they often actively seek to suppress that which they connect to their previous season of life. And that's not always good. It's somewhat like a pendulum effect, if that makes any sense. Often it takes a little time for them to realize who they are in the new reality and that some things were OK to hold on to. Good thoughts. Thanks!