sunriseIn a current TV commercial that plays regularly during sports programs, a half a dozen young men … thirties, I’d guess, but everyone looks young to me … are creeping though a neighborhood, armed with weapons straight from a sci-fi movie.   They turn a corner and encounter another group of similar young men sitting in the midst of destruction as far as the eye can see.  Wars over, the spokesman for the second group says.  We got here early.  There musta been a million robots.   Of course, the subject is a video game, rated M for Mature.  In the video game world, Mature means 17 and older, which qualifies you to enjoy virtual violence and mass destruction.   On television, if you see the message Intended for Mature Audiences, it means audiences over 15.  On television, you are entitled to see violence, as well as an occasional breast or backside, two years sooner.   Seriously, how many mature fifteen year olds do you know?  Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if everyone over fifteen were actually mature?  How about everyone over thirty?  Forty?  Et Cetera?

What I’m I’m talking about is psychological maturity, what Wikipedia defines as the ability to respond to the environment in an appropriate manner. In the 12-Step program I practice, there is a test for maturity, although … because wecheck are a program of suggestion … we don’t call it a test.  Titled The Checklist for Evaluating Our Maturity©, it is often greeted with groans when brought up in a meeting.  That’s because even though all of us are well over fifteen … or even eighteen … in my meetings, few of us get through the checklist unscathed. Psychological maturity has nothing to do with age.  This is the list:

A mature adult is one who:

  1. Does not automatically resent criticism, realizing that it may contain a suggestion for self-improvement.
  2. Knows that self-pity is futile and childish–a way of placing the blame for disappointments on others.
  3. Does not readily experience a loss of temper or “fly off the handle” about trifles.
  4. Keeps calm in emergencies and deals with them in a logical, reasonable fashion.
  5. Accepts responsibility without blaming others when things go wrong.
  6. Accepts reasonable delays without impatience, realizing that some adjustment for the convenience of others is necessary.
  7. Is a good loser, accepting defeat and disappointment without complaint or ill temper.
  8. Does not worry unduly about things that can’t be changed.
  9. Doesn’t boast or “show off” when praised or complimented, accepts it with grace, appreciation and without false modesty.
  10. Applauds others’ achievements with sincere goodwill.
  11. Rejoices in the good fortune and success of others having outgrown petty jealousy and envy.
  12. Listens courteously to the opinions of others even when they hold opposing views; does not enter into hostile argument.
  13. Doesn’t find fault with “every little thing” or criticize people who do things differently.
  14. Makes reasonable plans and tries to carry them out in orderly fashion; does not do things on the spur of the moment without due consideration.
  15. Shows spiritual maturity by: accepting the existence of a Higher Power and recognizing the importance of this Power in life; realizing each person is part of mankind as a whole and has much to give; that each of us has an obligation to share with others the gifts that have been bestowed upon us; obeying the spirit of the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

The dreaded List was the topic for our retreat last weekend.  I came home needing to work on 1, 7, 10 and 11.  Sometimes 12.   And always on 15.  How about you?

© Al-Anon Family Groups – Alcoholism the Family Disease


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5 Comments on “Maturity”

  1. Derek Zenith Says:

    16. Does not play video games for extended periods

  2. cherperz Says:

    I think there would be a high fail rate for most people reading that list. Some of them are dependent on the actual circumstances. I am more likely to take constructive criticism by someone I respect, but if my drunken sister-in-law starts in on me, I never take it well. (when she is sober, I take her words much more objectively).

    Same with being patient about delays. It would matter why the delay as to the amount of my patience.

    I would say, I fail at #8 routinely. I worry about a lot of things. The fact, they are beyond my control to change, makes the worry greater.

    • oldereyes Says:

      I don’t think anyone is good at all of it and certainly the conditions matter. “We” also say “Don’t argue with a drunk alcoholic.” I can actually be fairly intimidating so I don’t get a lot of unwanted criticism.

  3. territerri Says:

    1, 2, 8 and 15 are things I think I’ll always need to keep working on.

    This would be a good list to refer back to now and then. It’s easy to get caught up in the pettiness of life. Having a list of reminders about how to be a mature person might help make life a little smoother.

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