kids and grown-ups

I liked this passage from A Prayer for Owen Meany:

Until the summer of '62, I thought childhood and adolescence were a purgatory without apparent end; I thought youth, in a word, "sucked." But Owen Meany, who believed he knew when and how he was going to die, was in no hurry to grow up....

...By the end of the summer of 1962, Owen Meany had made me afraid of what the next phase was going to be. I didn't want to grow up anymore; what I wanted was for Owen and me to go on being kids for the rest of our lives--sometimes Canon Mackie tells me, rather ungenerously, that I have succeeded. Canon Campbell, God Rest His Soul, used to tell me that being a kid for the rest of my life was a perfectly honorable aspiration.

I had thoughts similar to this while visiting Becky's young family this past week. Partially because of the continual contact with the lives of her children, but also because being with her and her husband (with their impressive accomplishments, career, family, etc) stirred doubtful feelings in me that perhaps I wasn't quite a "grown up." I've struggled and thought about that for a few days now.

Then this morning I remembered a discussion I started a while back, at Christmas time: Adults and Children. I opened it with this:
I think Christmas really emphasizes the contrast between adults and children. The delight and surprise seen in the eyes of children, and the tension and fatigue seen around the eyes of the adults. It's pretty much a cliche that Christmas is a time of anticipation for children, but usually a time of tension for adults. Often, I even hear adults admitting that most of the joy they do find in Christmas is experienced vicariously, though the children.

This is a generalization, of course. But isn't there something to it? Doesn't it have something to do with the fact that adults feel responsible for making Christmas happen--while children simply receive it?

The scripture that comes to mind is Mk 10.15:
"Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it."
I think there's something important in this contrast between adults and children (not just at Christmas). Something about "receiving the kingdom of God as a child."

Spiritual maturity is not about becoming "responsible" or "building the kingdom of God." It's not about becoming an adult, if becoming adult means taking charge, making things happen, managing the world, etc. Sometimes I think our natural process of aging (old people becoming weak again, like a child) shows us a lot about how we are to mature spiritually.

This is just a brief sketch, but what do you think? Isn't this especially relevant to "adult" Christians who feel responsible for shaping world events, social structures, etc.? (I'm thinking of the "adult" mindset behind phrases such as "The sure way to let evil prevail is for the good person to do nothing," etc.)

Here's Calvin & Hobbes on adults and children...