Are we ready for the adult world? Are we ready for the pressure and responsibilities that come with it? Are we ready for adulthood? These are questions I have been thinking about that have heavily influenced how I approach growth and learning in general. After 12 years of school, and spending some time at home, I realised one can’t just magically tap into adulthood mode. Another question comes in, what should the transition from boyhood or girlhood to adulthood actually look like? It really looks like there isn’t even a transition at all. I realised that there is so much I have still got to learn. I remember the idea I had, “it will happen when it’s time.” Well, that idea sends us into some form of complacency. Do not trust it. As a kid, I thought being a grown-up meant having it all together.
For some — adulthood is the time a person begins to work to support themselves and their families. The role of being a provider is automatically considered as adulthood. Others call the time a person gets married as the beginning of adulthood. Then we have the age of 18, which is, by most societies considered to be the adult mark — the legal age, and the age a person is fully responsible for their actions and choices. A person is expected to be self sufficient. We have to put 12 years of school to the test right?
Even the definition of adulthood is broad; everyone probably has their own view but one thing is for certain, adulthood is neither for girls nor boys, it is for fully grown, matured men and women. Adulthood is more about maturity than age number (which of course also plays a role that is subtle in nature). Here is a question we so often ignore but know is very important to ask: How many young boys and girls are actively preparing for adulthood? It is possible to be an “adult” but still not be ready for adulthood and that’s because adulthood, like maturity, is really a choice. It seems I’m being too critical but this is something on the back burner. I must make known that with the efforts of certain teachers and leaders we have here in Zambia — there’s a good number of youths who understand the importance of planning and preparing for the future but sadly the number is probably on the minority side. The majority are tricked into the dangerous idea of letting life happen to them either by entertainment media or just plain laziness. None of us are exempt from this. It is a continuous battle each and every day to make sure hours are properly invested, and treated with importance. We are stewards; we treat what we have been given with care, and that includes our rooms, homes and surroundings.
With so much freedom comes the responsibility to use it wisely. Growth is intentional. This is not an argument against leisure time, it is a call to strike a beneficial balance between intentionality and leisure, with the hopes of preparing for adulthood. My goal is to communicate and inform, not to criticize or disdain. I’m a concerned citizen who is also an advocate for critical thinking so bear with me. Hopefully this will spark some dialogue.
There’s a fear among the young (boys and girls) of a common word that we are all familiar with. That word is “responsibility.” Yes! the word that makes young ones cringe when they hear it because adult life looks like it has nothing good to offer. Waking up early to do all sorts of things even when you clearly don’t feel like it.
Who would love to replace video game time with work? There’s a real “Call of Duty” out there boys. Work all the way — coupled with bills you always have to pay. The financial pressure is made worse with taxes, and once you decide to get your own vehicle, it brings its own fair share of expenses asking for your attention. You also need your own place when it’s that time to leave your parents’ or guardian’s home. Then your family also needs your support. I’m not writing this as someone who has experienced these things first hand, I’m writing as an observer who sees these things. We hear our parents and guardians say, “maybe next month,” when we cheerfully ask for some money. We see people going about with their businesses — vending in the streets trying to make ends meet, and that’s not where all your attention is supposed to be. The role of a parent is bittersweet. A mother has to have her mini Economics course while at home…she has to economize and plan for the unlimited needs with limited resources. She has to find ways to feed her children and husband with the available budget. She’s a nurturer — a helper — who has to always make sure her house is not only in a clean state but also make it a welcoming, lovely home for her family. The father lives up to the title of “provider” as they both struggle to raise kids into responsible grown ups and Christ followers in this sinful world.
Teaching kids to be good is not enough. True character resembles that of Christ. It is the responsibility of parents to instill discipline and invest in their children. For a man and woman contemplating marriage, they have so much to plan in preparation for the future. They might plan for their big wedding day which may cost a lot of money, but a wedding ceremony only lasts a day — marriage is a life time. they have a duty to plan out the big day, also how they will live together (church, parenting style, responsibilities at home, jobs e.t.c) They have to plan how they will divide and use money. Making a lot of money doesn’t equal excellent financial management. Also, Do not wait to learn only when you have money. That only shows that financial literacy is a subject far too important to be ignored. It’s important to get to learn about managing money — whether married — single or preparing to get married.
I know there isn’t a father out there who would feel comfortable leaving his daughter with a man who has no plan on how he will support the daughter and the family. Adulthood is a prerequisite to marriage for those who long to get married. Procrastination is a sneaky time waster. The moment we put off something very important to reserve it for the future, we are saying it’s not important. Gentlemen, we can pray to God asking Him to make us amazing leaders, fathers and husbands in the future but if there’s no effort, planning or practice, it is a wish not a vision. Our nation needs leaders, and so does the home. Quoting Proverbs 31 doesn’t propel a woman towards it. It helps her know it but to be it, is her Responsibility. Responsibility is like a crying baby awaiting your attention; it is difficult to ignore the cry of a baby. We were often told that we are the leaders of tomorrow. If we are the leaders of tomorrow, today is preparation day. I have never seen a person who wants to be a great soccer player spend all their time watching other great soccer players hoping the hard-work will rub off on them. It is time to get practical. Preparation isn’t worry; worry produces more worry while preparation is aimed at readiness. Plan diligently.
The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty (Proverbs 21:5).
An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
It is better to walk with a vision for tomorrow than regret not having one later on in the future. The present is fragile — in that your tomorrow mainly depends on your today.
Read. A great way to plan for a healthy adulthood is to get accustomed with books since books have vital written down information; there is a book on almost everything right now. The writers write from a perspective of experience and knowledge. The more you read, the more you know you don’t know and that gives you the opportunity to know. Immerse yourself in the written work of others. Do not forget the Word of God for your daily reads. This will be beneficial to you. The good part is that there is a book that touches on almost every point of life right now. In addition, there is so much content on the web that can help. I myself have benefited from many of those online.
Find somebody to mentor you. When we find somebody older and much more wiser than us to help us in an area, we make things easier for ourselves. Ask questions and take notes. The most important thing here is to show your willingness to learn. This person you pursue to mentor you in specific areas can even be a parent.
Remember also — that we are to be led by the Holy Spirit — He is our helper, teacher and comforter.
Manage your time. Perhaps one of the most challenging things to do as an adult is managing time. Time never stops moving, and responsibilities only increase as you grow older. What do we do? We prioritize. Set a prayer time. Plan for even the simple things during a day so you can maximize on getting closer to your proposed ambitions and plans.
Let your mistakes teach you something. Learn from your past mistakes. Do not beat yourself up for an error that happened before. I strive to do the same each time I make a mistake. To Keep failing at something until you get it right is better than not doing anything. Search through the pieces of your failure to find the lesson.
Humility. Be teachable. Correction can taste bitter — but it’s fruit is sweet when received well. When it comes to Humility, Jesus Christ is our greatest example.
Develop a strong work ethic. We all have to appreciate work. It is God’s design for us to work. Adulthood is demanding and so is work. Sometimes, it is best to put our feelings aside so we can focus on being effective in our various work stations.
Take your time, enjoy your youth but do not let it lead to destructive tendencies. Practice Time management even when you don’t feel like it. We have talents and spiritual gifts that need to be used — that includes learning handy skills for the home. Adulthood means sacrifice. It means dedication, it means commitment, and if there is something that looks trivial around us, we analyse it to see if it’s important.
Grace and peace!