Holy Spirit Interactive
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Inside HSI Youth

Growing Pains


by Dr. Leela Francisco

Haven’t we all been told any number of times: "Grow up!"? Another common criticism that I remember was "How Immature!"

These criticisms always left me thinking very hard, and seriously reflecting what it was in my behavior or emotions or conversation that required maturity. Somehow I always expected myself to behave “maturely”, and it was very disappointing to realize I hadn’t! So what was "maturity"?

I realize now that I was just being very hard on myself. Gaining maturity is a life long process. The important thing though, is to mature holistically – physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually and that is what makes a truly balanced person. Any selective growth in one area leaves one immature in others and, as a consequence, an imbalanced person in society.

Intellectual Maturity - Maturing those Grey Cells

We work at maturing our Grey Cells to develop a good intellect most of our young lives. We are put in school at the tender age of 3 or 4. Some of us resent this onslaught of learning and often learn to avoid it in various ways. But it is an important part of the ‘brain maturing’ process. When we are faced with learning that we don’t want to do, we tend to give up, or avoid studying those subjects or else get distracted with entertainment and friends. Then we cram just before exams in order to scrape through to the next class! For an averagely performing student, this is the worst thing to do. Because it leaves one with no intellectual maturity to fall back on for the future, besides getting a terrible Report Card!

The way to deal with this situation is to do regular work. Study a little bit daily, especially on school days (have fun on weekends and holidays). Revise in small amounts what has been recently covered in class so that it stays fresh in ones memory. This is simple to do and allows information stored in ones “Recent Memory” to move into “Long-Term Memory”. We ALL have a good Long-Term Memory. Otherwise how else would you remember your name, your friends names, recall events of the past, birthdays, etc? All we need to do is to make use of it to develop intellectually.

When we revise information that is still fresh in our Recent Memory, it takes a very short time to study it – the study time may be only about an hour a day. It may take a little longer when we study subjects that we don’t like or find difficult. So it’s good to plan to study one difficult subject along with one simpler subject a day, along with doing ‘homework’.

When the exams actually arrive, one has to simply spend a few hours revising again – because our long term memory brings it all back to mind very easily. One never has to worry about results then. When we pray and ask, the Spirit of God helps bring to our memory at the time of the exam, all that we have sincerely put to Memory in the past. So then, all we need to do is believe that He will. One can never fail an exam then, even if one does not answer a paper very well.

The benefits of 'Brain Maturity'

Maturing my Grey Cells allows me to take more responsible decisions for myself and for my family. This is because with my developed and enlightened intellect, I’m able to have a better grasp of situations around me – in my family as well as society. I have a better understanding of people and life in general. I’m able to make informed decisions for myself and for my family by reading more deeply about relevant subjects. All around, I end up being a contribution to society and to my family, since I’m able to work at a good job and earn better with my education. I don’t have to be a gold or silver medalist to do so; I simply have to be a sincere student. It helps when we have support from our family/parents to study, but even without that, I can make that (mature) decision for myself.

Ask the Lord today to help you with this decision, to be an intellectually mature person who will be a benefit to your family and to your society.

Next time we will talk about Emotional Maturity or Maturity of the Heart. A good book to read in the meantime is "A Call to Christian Maturity" by Fr. J. M. Fuster, SJ.

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