Genesis 29:28 – Jacob did so, and completed her week. Then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife.
1 Corinthians 13:11 – When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
Every human on this earth who lives a “normal” lifespan to elderly adulthood goes through six different stages of maturity and issues can arise when a person tries to stay in one life stage when they should be moving to another OR when someone else tries to control them and keep them in a previous life stage.
In Genesis 29, Laban does not allow his daughters to be responsible for themselves, meddling in their relationships, tricking Jacob, and forcing them to engage in polygamy, all of which goes against God’s ultimate plan for parental/adult child relationships.
As we move through our lives, here are the following six stages of maturity that we pass through:
- Baby – Expectant parents are generally thrilled to bring a new life into this world and, once the child is born, the parent is responsible for keeping this child alive. All decisions and provisions for the child are provided by the parents or caretakers (someone other than the baby itself) in this stage.
- Child – As babies grow into toddlers and then children, the kids start to gain independence little by little, from walking on your own to getting yourself dressed and feeding yourself, and ultimately going to school without your parents.
- Adolescent – Adolescence generally spans from just before a child becomes a teenager through the time when they graduate from high school. Ideally, around the end of this time, they leave home whether it be for college, trade school, or a job. During this time, kids get their drivers licenses and likely get their first job.
- Young Adult – This is around the time kids are in college, graduating, getting their first “adult” job, and oftentimes getting married. In this stage, you’re making the majority of your decisions and providing the majority of things for yourself. The biggest pain point is oftentimes when people stay in the adolescent or young adult stage for too long.
- Adult – As an adult, you’re fully responsible for yourself, your well-being, and oftentimes the well-being of a spouse and family. You’ve fully separated from your parents’ insurance, phone plan, and schedule.
- Mature Adult – In this stage, you’re likely responsible for a family or potentially even have grandchildren and your goal is to bless and benefit those who God has blessed you with.
The key to parenting is to help our child move through each of life’s stages and mature. Overparenting stunts the maturation process of a child. This is precisely why Jacob is immature and unprepared for adult life – he was overparented by his mother whose mothering became smothering.
Which of these stages are you and your family in now? How can you bless others, starting with your family, during the stage you’re currently in?
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