Monday, March 24, 2008

Four Levels of Maturity: Summary

First, if you’re looking for the Christian Science-Fiction and Fantasy tour for this month, yes, I will be posting. But I prepared my fiction and faith post that I usually do on Mondays before I remembered that. So enjoy browsing my work on fiction and faith, and then return during the next couple days for On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness.

As for today’s post, I’m summarizing how our maturity level, both physical and spiritual, impacts our guidelines for fiction, the topic I’ve been focusing on for the past couple months. (For a complete discussion on this, check out the folder labeled “maturity” on my sidebar). Then next week, after blog tour, I’ll move onto the third and final foundation for fictional guidelines, personal limitations.


Characteristics: Infants are helpless, unable to do anything for themselves and lacking any discernment. They absorb everything and learn best through the concrete.

Advantages: Because they absorb everything going on around them, infants are exceptionally teachable and receptive to outside influence.

Dangers: An infant’s receptivity to outside influences makes them susceptible to lies as well as the truth; they cannot discern one from the other.

Safeguards: Stories for infants need a clear, true message focusing on the concrete rather than the abstract. For spiritual infants, this means a diet of Christian-only material (which I don’t recommend for the long-term) is advisable, along with a spiritual “parent” to keep track of what is being absorbed.


Characteristics: Children are curious about everything, live in a rule-oriented world, and learn basically through imitation.

Advantages: A child’s sense of wonder and the ability to learn by example, whether real or fictional, are unparalleled.

Dangers: Kids will mimic evil as well as good and can carry a prejudice against anything different.

Safeguards: Stories for children (physical and spiritual) should focus on heroic heroes, where good is rewarded and evil is punished, thus capitalizing on the ability to learn by example. Supervision by a parent or mentor is recommended.


Characteristics: Teens relish increasing supervision from parents, foster a “sky is the limit” mentality, and learn largely from experimentation.

Advantages: Adolescents bring variety and vision to the world.

Dangers: The “sky is the limit” mentality, taken too far, can result in an attitude of invincibility, the kind that says it doesn’t matter—I can do, go, read, watch what I like without it affecting me.

Safeguard: Sampling a large variety of fictional types is encouraged, but should also be monitored in order that personal limitations can be discerned and developed. An accountability partner is advisable.


Characteristics: Adults are the widest varied group. Now focused more on maintenance than growth, they bear great freedom with the weight of responsibility of teachers, parents, and mentors.

Advantages: No longer wholly dependent on others, adults are freed to serve rather than needing to be served.

Dangers: Maintenance can cause adults to become stuck in a rut, solidifying personal guidelines into rules for others.

Safeguards: Enjoy the wide variety the fictional world can offer—and not only for adults, but also for children, infants, and teens! The best way to avoid ruts is to trek off your normal path occasionally.

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