The 'Gates' of Maturity


Ascension to adulthood or ‘coming-of-age’ traditions has existed in the world since Ancient Greece, particularly in Spartan society. Spartan culture was centred on loyalty to military service. From age 7, Spartan boys were given military training until they grow old enough to be brave soldiers. Known as the Agoge, this system emphasized their abilities to be dutiful, and disciplined, and to survive the toughest battles.

On Nias Island, Indonesia, there is also a tradition that stands out among others. Stone Jumping or Hombo Batu is a ritual for boys at the age of ten. They had to jump over a 6 feet stone to prove adulthood.

There are also other coming-of-age traditions in other parts of the world, such as Bar Mitzvah for Jewish people, the Satere-Mawe in the Brazilian Amazon, and many more.

But what is true maturity? Can it be proven solely by performing traditions? Let us take a look at psychological and social studies.

The model of psychosocial maturity integrates sociological and psychological views of the person; there are general outlines which are likely to be relevant in all (if not most) societies, such as the ability to function on one’s own, the capacity to adequately interact with others, and the capacity to contribute to social cohesion (Greenberger, 1974).

Taken to American Psychological Association, maturity is a psychological health (Heath, 1965). There are five developmental trends of maturity; stability, integration, interest in others, autonomy, and perceptual experience.

In today’s culture, upon reaching legal adulthood or maturity, an individual has access to a range of rights not previously available and is expected to fulfil certain duties (Todres, 2010). This is also called as rites of passage, but a legal status isn’t enough to reach proper adulthood if the individual aren’t using their privileges appropriately.

There are major changes when we move past adolescence into adulthood, such as biological, cognitive, social, emotional, and moral (Joy & Asha, 2018). 

Maturity is not only seen through physical appearance but also emotional intelligence and our abilities to behave ourselves. It is learned rather than acquired – a discipline rather than a trait (Nangia, 2016).

Being mature is…

1. Responsible and owning mistakes.

A mature person would be self-aware of our behaviours and put attention to things we would do or say. However, as humans, we still make mistakes. Therefore, apologizing for any wrongdoings and owning our mistakes are big steps to be mature.

2. Sympathetic, empathetic, and selfless.

The noble act of caring for others’ needs as well as ours is truly a way to know we could integrate with society and show love to others. A mature person is able to add value to themselves and others around them.

3. Characters before feelings.

Making hard decisions is part of being an adult. We live by guides and principles – those that may influence our lives. Mature people can progress based on what they should do rather than what they want to do. Emotions are still important, however, we should not let this overcome our decision-making.

The progress of maturity is different for each individual. It is simply more complex than proving oneself in a tradition, so don’t worry or rush yourself to quickly become an adult – you need to take small and meaningful steps, learn as you go, and then eventually improve to be a better personality, both for you and others around you.


Greenberger, E. S. (1974). Toward a concept of psychosocial maturity. J Youth Adolesence, 329-358.

Heath, D. H. (1965). Explorations of maturity. Appleton-Century-Crofts.

Joy, M., & Asha, M. (2018). Emotional Maturity and General Well-Being of Adolescents. Journal of Pharmacy.

Nangia, V. (2016, May 29). What does it mean to be mature? Retrieved from indiatimes.com: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/O-zone/what-does-it-mean-to-be-mature/

Todres, J. (2010). Maturity. University of Oregon School of Law Child Advocacy Project's Annual Conference.

  Writer: Radya Ayufa Putri

Editor: Junanda Amriansyah