“Grow up” is an interesting exhortation. It’s not meant literally, obviously, when leveled toward anyone over the age of 25. So I think it says more about the person who proffers the charge. When you say “grow up,” what you mean is, “your behavior is tiresome.” What you’re addressing is the difference between how you would handle things and how a given person chooses to do so. But whereas, “I think you should do this” makes your view clear, saying “grow up” makes your dismissive impatience clear. And that’s completely valid. You have run out of patience and you’re done abiding another’s dithering or antics. You want to see solemn action, not indecision, not frolicking.
Russell Brand just had a piece in the New Statesman about how the left needs a revolution, but how going about it in a “grown-up” way makes prospective joiners lose interest. Russell Brand’s whole raison d’etre may be the opposite of “grown up;” what’s wrong, he thinks, with a bit of fun, a bit of a flirt or frolic, while we’re at the task of changing the world or making an important decision? Can’t we get things done with a few jokes or pokes to lighten the mood? In his piece he mentions John Cleese’s take on what’s considered grown up: there is a difference between serious and solemn. Serious things can be considered, talked about, and solved without being so gravely, maturely solemn. This may be a peculiarly British way of thinking, while we Yanks toil at being puritanically decisive, active, and straight-faced. Grown up.
With true maturity comes wisdom enough to know what’s effective. Telling someone to “grow up” is usually a taunt, not a challenge. An insult meant to hurt, not to inspire. Not effective, and ironically not terribly grown up.
In other news: At the library today, the prince and I ran into someone who we may have entertained unaware he was an angel (Hebrews 13:2, look it up). This was a black man, maybe 60 years old, grizzled of face and sartorially challenged, talking much too loud for the library, bringing his books and movies back. I wanted to pay his ($29!!) fines for him but I only had a dollar and change on me. “God,” he said, “God is not begging to use us–we must do good works of our own accord and not wait for God to use us, for when we do the devil sneaks on in there. Young man” (he addressed the prince)– “don’t ask for forgiveness, ’cause you don’t deserve it nor do I. Instead, say you’re sorry. One’s about you, the other’s about respect. It’s not all about you. It’s not all about me. It’s about others, always others. That’s your ‘add-a-lesson’ for the day, for the Ah-doh-less-cent!” He chuckled aloud at his joke. I was proud of the prince, and in fact proud of all of us present, for allowing the man his due. No one chided or rolled eyes or hushed him. He gave more reason in 90 seconds to consider that there is a god than a month of Sundays in church.