Another day, another death, another body’s descent to the grave. Some seem to enter the grave having lived a fulfilled life; others appear to enter in their prime with so much unmet potential. Some seem to wait patiently for death, believing that their work on earth is done. Others wish for more time and fight death with all of the resources available to them. Why is this? Today we shall examine what we are supposed to be doing on this earth and how we are supposed to be doing it.
When we observe life on the earth with the passing of time, we notice that living things tend to grow. Therefore we can reasonably conclude that while on the earth, all of life, including mankind, is supposed to grow or to mature. With adequate nutrition and exercise our bodies mature. With adequate sensory stimulation, whether visual, auditory, nasal, or touch, our brains mature. But how does the person, commonly known as the soul, mature. How do we who inhabit our bodies and access information stored in our brains mature? We can glean some information by comparing the behaviour of infants and adults.
All babies act on, or are essentially controlled by their natural self-preserving desires. Adults however come in two varieties, those who try to control these natural desires, and those who do not, either because they cannot or are unwilling to try. Being controlled by selfish desires is necessary for the baby’s survival, but it is irresponsible adult behaviour. Therefore a measure of maturity appears to be the degree to which selfish desires are controlled, and it does not appear to be guaranteed by the passage of time.
If we agree that we are supposed to mature, then by what process does the person mature? By observation, and contrasting the behaviour of responsible and irresponsible adults, maturity seems to be directly related to how we perform responsibilities. There are three factors related to performing responsibilities, namely motive, attitude, and competence and they can effectively be described through a personal example.
When I was but a wee lad, it was my duty to take the garbage out of the house. Initially I was not pleased with this work, since fairness would indicate that it should be shared with my siblings. I would therefore complain. My poor attitude to this work affected my performance, as I would sometimes kick the garbage bag from the house to the place where it would be collected. Sometimes a hole would develop resulting in some spillage, which I had to clean up.
Despite my poor performance and poor attitude to the task, I persisted with it in the hope of receiving some monetary reward at the end of the month. My motive for performing the work was therefore purely selfish.
As time went on, I began to realize that my siblings were performing other tasks, which I did not have to perform, and so I stopped complaining. I also realised that if the garbage was not removed promptly then it could affect the aroma of the kitchen. My motive therefore became less selfish, and it too affected my work’s performance.
Therefore the process of maturity in an individual appears to be facilitated by attempting to perform all responsibilities properly, with a good attitude and an unselfish motive. Three environments that provide wonderful opportunities for facilitating this process of maturing are the home, church, and place of work.
Parents who give their children responsibilities and ensure that they are performed, facilitate the maturing of their children. Those who only provide for their children’s physical needs do not.
Churches that give their members actual responsibilities facilitate their member’s maturity. Those who only request that they come, sing, listen and go home do not.
Employers who properly manage their employees by providing them with adequate amounts of work, and review their performance, facilitate their maturity. Those who simply provide jobs for people without ensuring that the work is performed properly do not.
If we are supposed to mature, then a primary objective for our nation should be to facilitate this process of maturing for our citizens and residents.