Thursday, April 26, 2007

Milestones and Maturity

Having four kids and expecting a fifth, I am pretty familiar with milestones. Milestones are those understood markers that as a child grows, she ought to reach that particular milestone at an approximate age.

For instance, a child develops language patterns early. My oldest daughter said her first word by the time she was nine months and was speaking in complete sentences by a year. My other children followed that pattern, but not as closely.

Typically a child will vocalize beyond crying at about six months. They will make noises often just to hear themselves, preparing their little voices for the formation of sounds. Between nine months and a year, they should be babbling; ma ma ma, da da da, and so on.

At about a year to fourteen months a child should be saying simple one syllable words and by eighteen months to two years they should be saying two syllable words as well as making two to three word sentences. Beyond two years old, her vocabulary should be increasing exponentially and she should be making conversation.

Some friends have a child who had not reached any milestones beyond vocalizing by the time their son was eighteen months. He was combative, frequently upset, and out of sorts most of the time. The fact that he had not reached any milestones was of grave concern to them and so they made an appointment to see a doctor. Something was abnormal and it was of utmost necessity to have him looked at by a physician.

They discovered that their son had hearing troubles as well as a mild case of autism, easily treatable through therapy. In cases of unreached physical milestones, drastic steps are often taken to ensure those milestones are reached or at least to diagnose the problem. When it is discovered that something is wrong, the source of the problem is then treated.

What happens however, when it is discovered that spiritual milestones have not been reached? What happens if a member of the body of Christ has not reached those milestones?

Typically, nothing.

More thoughts later.

5 comments:

Elder's Wife said...

Tony-
How would you characterize those spiritual milestones?
Children are not given a list of goals in their early years--they just grow at their own pace. Do you think Christians are all designed to grow at their own pace? Are some more precocious than others?
How much of the work of growth is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit within a believer, and how much is dependent on the believer?
Should the Body of Christ be the judge or the facilitator of growth?
It's lots easier to ask the questions than to answer them :)
Kat

Tony said...

Kat,

Thanks for stopping by! No, children are not given a list of milestones and they are expected to grow at their own pace. That was part of my point; what do we do if they are not growing at that anticipated pace?

In the case of physical maladies that hinder reaching ubiquitous milestones, we get help--almost immediately.

I think the Bible gives us some indications as to an anticipated pace of growth and we are wise to heed it. That was the point of my final sentence, that typically in the church we do not do anything if some of the more scriptural visible milestones are not met.

How much of the work of growth is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit within a believer, and how much is dependent on the believer? Yes.

Should the Body of Christ be the judge or the facilitator of growth? Yes.

I don't want to give away too much in the thread because I plan on posting on these questions.

Hope you'll stay tuned.

Steve Sensenig said...

I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts on these questions, Tony. Could this be another area in which you and I see eye-to-eye? :)

Tony said...

Could this be another area in which you and I see eye-to-eye? :)

What am I going to do when all of blogland sees me agreeing with you? How am I going to save face? ;)

I do think we'll find much commonality here. These are some ideas I have been pondering (along with a gazillion others) that have been eating at my heart for a while. I'm looking to be tested, here.

See ya soon...

Steve Sensenig said...

How am I going to save face? ;)

ha ha! It's not so bad, ya know ;)