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16 February 2010 @ 09:29 pm
"What is a grown-up?"  
One of my grad students came in this morning and said, "This question came up in class [Adult Ed] last night, and no one could satisfactorily define it. 'What is a grown-up?'"

My first question was, "Grown-up or adult?" and my second was, "If grad students who study this sort of thing can't answer it, why are you asking me?"

Anyway, my answer was, "A grown-up is someone who assesses risks and rewards before taking action, and acts to minimize the risks and maximize the rewards, while doing as little harm to others as possible."

So, for example, it's acceptably grown-up to put your best foot forward when applying for and interviewing for a job, even though it's almost certain that if you are hired, someone else will be harmed by not being hired. It's not acceptable or grown-up to actively sabotage another candidate. By my definition.

However, I don't study these things, and so I'm probably wrong, and so I would be interested in how you would define a grown-up.
starcat_jewelstarcat_jewel on February 17th, 2010 03:19 am (UTC)
To me, this reads a lot like "a grownup is someone who always puts herself and her needs at the end of the queue". I consider that expectation to be inappropriate.

I think a grownup is someone who can determine when it is appropriate to take care of her own needs before those of others vs. when it is appropriate to subordinate her own preferences in the face of necessity. Yes, that means even when children are involved, because one of the lessons a child needs to learn (when they are old enough to grasp it) is that they are NOT the center of the universe.