Amy Rees Anderson

The Fear Of Childishness and The Desire To Be Very Grown Up

Having been sucked into an endless hole all day of gathering receipts so my accountant can get my tax return prepared in time for the upcoming tax deadline, I asked my son Dalton if he’d write tonight’s blog post for me. Here’s Dalton’s post:

“When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” – C.S. Lewis

I read this quote the other day, and it was so profound to me that I stared at it for a solid five minutes simply pondering it over. The original quote from Paul in the bible (1 Corinthians 13:11) has always been a sore spot for me, because for those who know me, they know full well that I have fought off aging and maturity the moment I became an “adult.” I still watch Saturday morning cartoons (with or without my toddler), I continue to grow my massive Star Wars Lego collection each Christmas (I can almost reenact every scene from Episodes I-VI), and I will forever grab a box of Captain Crunch over Raisin Bran any day of the week! Summed up, I love the words of Paul, but I skip verse 11.

That is until I came across this quote. The more I think on it, the more profound it becomes to me. My son Flynn has no fears. He doesn’t fear looking immature or childish, and in general he just doesn’t fear anything, which causes great anxiety for my wife and I when he launches himself off furniture to do a somersault. The world is fascinating and open to him, and he greets every stranger with a boisterous “Hi!” followed by ten more until they say hi back. Where the world is full of fear and anxiety, especially during this pandemic, Flynn has only enjoyed the fact that I’ve been home every day.

I don’t remember when I started fearing childishness. Like all of us, I’m sure it was a product of being around peers and all of us foolishly believing we were missing out on tomorrow because we were stuck in today. Ironically, many of us are so worried about what other people think of us, that we don’t have time to inflict the same harsh judgements on others that we believe they surely must be casting on us. Whatever the case, I, like most of you, have had to combat fearing what others think or assume about me because of my hobbies and passions, to be who I enjoy being. And it’s a fight that I’ll keep fighting, no matter how hard my dad tries to sell my Legos (OVER MY DEAD BODY DAD! OVER MY DEAD BODY!).

I’m sharing this quote, not because of Legos or sugary cereals, but as a reminder that growing up isn’t about becoming a stiff, rigid, boring adult. If that’s what makes you happy, then by all means, you be you. But for everyone else, don’t fear childishness simply because you’re growing up. Embrace who you are, and applaud others for doing the same.

~Dalton Anderson (son of Amy Rees Anderson, author of “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” )

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