Stop Acting like a Child

[May 2, 2022]  Stop acting like a child. Grow up and go on an adventure.  Take on some responsibility.  You are answerable to your own destiny.

The mature adult is the one with the innate desire to adopt responsibility for one’s self and others voluntarily.  That person is the one interested in the unknown, has the yearning to explore, find new things, carry a heavy load, and be a rebel in a world of safety and conformity.  Mature adulthood is based on the universal and ancient need to be accountable for one’s actions.  This mission is the ancient call to adventure and heroism.

True enough, the burden is not and will never be easy.  So, stop acting like a 10-year-old and get on with it.

There’s an old story, one that is from Greek mythology, about the Titan god known as Atlas that makes this point.  In this famous story told to children worldwide, Atlas carries the world’s weight on his shoulders.  Atlas is a universal symbol of endurance, strength, and resoluteness, as he calmly bears his pain of responsibility.  To this day, Atlas remains one of the most enduring themes in art and literature.  Why is this story so alluring?  Why is it that we are sympathetic to Atlas?  Why do we admire him so?  The answer is that we are instinctively drawn to those who can hold the world (or family, community, team) together and voluntarily bear the weight of its problems.

Chose the weight you have to carry.  Chose it so that you can justify your existence to yourself and end your day and think, “Look, I did what I needed to do to set things right today.”  And, now you don’t have to feel the shame of your failures.  And, as you carry that weight, it will gain you a bit of self-respect, which will carry you through terrible times.

Do those things that make you better, and hold onto the humility necessary to do so.  Take on those lowly tasks that need doing and do so with a smile on your face and contentment in your heart.  Some of your fondest memories will be from those times, your camaraderie with others doing those tasks, and you will look back upon them with a smile and a longing that you may say, “I miss those times.”  The ‘why’ is that you carried the responsibility and did so willingly, contently, and thankfully, not with an arrogant attitude.

If you are young and unhappy, look around and see if there are opportunities, even flawed ones, you can take on.  You can exploit those imperfect prospects to learn and grow.

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Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

21 thoughts on “Stop Acting like a Child

  1. Mikka Solarno

    I can tell you that my brother, who is 45, acts like a kid with his hat turned backwards, dresses like a teenager. I just make fun of him and he gets made. He is a 10 year old.

    Reply
    1. Cat A Miss

      There is no or little penalty in the “West” for failure to grow up and take on responsibility. In fact there are many incentives not to grow up. Government is your daddy.

      Reply
  2. Willie Strumburger

    Another excellent article in this on-going series on how to make yourself better.

    Reply
  3. Andrew Dooley

    ‘Stop acting like a child’ may seem like a great intro to a philosophy of life but I think in America it will be difficult to overcome the programming our kids are getting in school They are taught they are always superior to everyone else. Thus, telling them anything is a big no-go. Try it. Let’s see how well it goes over on the young. 👍

    Reply
  4. Harry Donner

    Gen. Satterfield, you’ve been trying to “sell” responsibility for a long long time now. I admit, it’s a tough sell. But, you tying responsibility to future happiness (or satisfaction to use your words), I think is the right way to do it. More concrete examples are in order.

    Reply
    1. Eye Cat

      Yep, hard sell to those who are used to getting everything handed to them for free. Well “free” might mean giving up the risks of being a real person (which they have never been, so no loss) and giving up their liberty (which they see as an ancient unimportant feature). You can’t sell a snowflake something hard to do. They will melt away.

      Reply
  5. Greg Heyman

    Soooo rightttt ….. Take on those lowly tasks that need doing and do so with a smile on your face and contentment in your heart.

    Reply
  6. Max Foster

    And, now you don’t have to feel the shame of your failures. – Gen. Satterfield
    The problem with this is that these child-like adults don’t see what they do as failure. They see it as something good, that they, for example, complain about their missing rights and march in protests. They are so morally superior to us, they think, that they can do anything and it is good for them and us. You will not change their minds. They got religion of the state and no logic will work.

    Reply
    1. Nick Lighthouse

      Right Max. All humans have religion. You pick your religion and if your religion is the government, then I feel sorry for you. That is how Hitler, Mao, Mussolini, and Stalin rose to power, on the religion of government.

      Reply
      1. Bryan Z. Lee

        Excellent point, altho I’ve read this line of thinking before. I’m not yet convinced but I do see the argument.

        Reply
      2. Emma Archambeau

        Good points Max and Nick. Thanks. First thing, save yourself, then help others.

        Reply
  7. Pooch T.

    ” … the burden is not and will never be easy. So, stop acting like a 10-year-old and get on with it.” Yeah, grow up! Couldn’t have said it better myself. We surely can find a way to throw off our childish thinking. First, dress like an adult, second stop accepting handouts, third always tell the truth, and last, accept responsibility for what is before you.

    Reply
  8. old warrior

    Another spot-on article from Gen. Satterfield and this time a blunt message to get your sh$$ together and start being a man (or woman). I know that message might trigger some snowflakes but I don’t give a rat’s a$$ whether I do or not. I’d rather kick them in the butt, they surely need it.

    Reply
  9. Goalie for Cal State

    Joe Biden acts like a spoiled 12 year old, so what.

    Reply
    1. Emily Baker

      That’s what politicians want from us, to be childlike so they can impose their rules on us and keep us focuses on stupid things while they gain power.

      Reply
    2. Joe Omerrod

      It’s just a game, Joe Biden is propped up by a cadre of hangers-on and his family (corrupt family). They have zero incentive to stop dumbing us down. They will be the end of us unless we put our foot down and say, hey we are willing to accept failure and success and the rewards and losses associated with it. We don’t need government protection.

      Reply
      1. Mr. T.J. Asper

        Right, Joe. The cost is too high. We give up our liberty. And, that my friends, is a very bag thing.

        Reply
        1. KenFBrown

          When you educate dumb people to accept whatever the get, then you reap what you sow.

          Reply

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