Opinion: Act your age


Routinely we demand of our children, “Act your age.”  In common parlance, it is intended to send the message that the youngster is somehow falling short of the adult expectation for development of a child of a certain age.  In our house, we aspire that our boys have attained sufficient chronological maturity to expect that they restrict the practice of their ultimate Frisbee moves to locations outside of the house. Certainly, the damage inflicted by a 180 pound six-foot-tall 17-year-old is far more daunting than that which might be perpetrated by a three-and-a-half foot tall 3-year-old.  But is our expectation honestly connected to fear that the Frisbee match might lead to a knocked over Christmas tree or some innate expectation of emotional development tied to the progression of the calendar?  

Knowing of my own impending birth anniversary, a longtime friend forwarded a link to an online test claiming the ability, after one offers earnest answers to a retinue of interrogatories, to accurately predict one’s emotional age.  In order for the outcome to best approximate correctness, the taker is admonished, one must answer all questions without filter.  It is harder to do than one would presume.  Questions that might point us toward a younger rating stand out and the temptation is to direct ourselves into the junior category.  This impulse is so strikingly contrasted against our own young sons who work to appear emotionally older.

After completing the assessment, the software returned a verdict.  I am playing at slightly less than 70 percent of my age.  Initially, I reacted by strutting around a little. How does one post this to Facebook?  But before I could make the technology do my bidding, I wondered – is it good to register younger than our biological age?  Maybe, it is time to grow-up.


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