In saying, “There is a time for everything,” the Bible is telling you to act your age. In creating our natures, God programmed them to develop by stages.
First of all, children must be allowed to play, to learn their world, and to work out their own right way of managing their world.
King Edward VI of England was a sad exception to this, from the time he was weaned, he was dressed like an adult. He was called on to settle matters of state. He died at fifteen after childishly putting his half sister Mary aside in favor of his cousin Jane. A parliament that resented this immature whim, made Lady Jane pay for it with her head.
We are indebted to the Swedish mountain climber Erik Erikson for his fine insights into normal teenage development. His thesis pointed out that with twelve-year-olds their hormones drive them away from their parents. Nature then programs them through a six year “moratorium.” It has them patching together what will be their adult personality. They face heart aches if that inchoate teen-age-personality has saddled them with the wrong mates and with detestable tattoos.
With the movies always asking us to identify with men and women under thirty-five, it can happen that as we go past forty, we strain to keep looking like those role models.
I found a much different emphasis when I settled into Korean village life sixty years ago. I found that young married ladies worked day and night to keep their mother-in-laws from punishing them. Each bride yearned for the day when her oldest son would marry, giving her a daughter-in-law to push around. Then, those forty-year-old ladies would take to wearing long dresses on a round of singing and dancing at choice picnic spots.
There is no contentment like what comes when we can act our age.