Coming of Age  

Posted by Brock Booher

Recently several young men in my neighborhood have returned home after serving as LDS missionaries for two years in various parts of the world. The change in their stature, demeanor, and composure was remarkable. They left as boys becoming young men, and returned as men.

John Steinbeck said, “A boy becomes a man when a man is needed.” These “boys” left the comfort of their homes and willfully volunteered to serve others – strangers in a strange land. They did it in an environment filled with structure yet very little oversight or supervision. The task required manhood and they grew to meet the requirement.

My oldest son is currently serving in the Philippines and I can tell through his emails that the tasks he faces daily require more than a boyish commitment. He, like the other boys, is meeting the requirements of the task at hand and will return a man.

This “coming of age” scenario takes place everyday in various different ways and by diverse means. Everyday girls and boys accept the challenges of adulthood willingly or as they are thrust upon them by circumstance. They become women and men because life requires it. Shielding them from life’s requirements only delays and hinders their journey into adulthood.

What do those of us who have accepted and fulfilled life’s adulthood requirement do to continue to “come of age”? Are we developing new talents or skills? Are we finding ways to give back to our families, communities, and country?

Once I visited a dying neighbor in a nursing home. She was sleeping when we arrived, but the woman in the bed next to her was knitting and welcomed us into the room. My wife asked if she had been knitting long, and she replied that it was something she had recently taken up. “I can still use my hands and I can still do something!” she said with a smile. She was still “coming of age”.

I think life is meant to be lived, and I hope I am always “coming of age”.

This entry was posted on Sunday, September 20, 2009 at Sunday, September 20, 2009 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


One thing that has always amazed me is that you are constantly learning new things and loving it. Life certainly is a progression. Of course I am a few steps behind you but the journey is still fun.

September 20, 2009 at 3:26 PM

Great message, Brock. Life on life's terms. I am constantly surprised by the requirements that life puts before me, and grateful for the Grace to meet those requirements. Life will teach me the same lesson over and over until I get it. It takes a open mind, a willing heart and a lot of courage to become the person who can meet each day's new requirements.

September 20, 2009 at 6:16 PM

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