One common misconception among people is that school is meant to “teach” maturity, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. What school really wants to teach, in fact, is conformity. These are 2 completely different things.
Conformity is when one comes with compliance with standards, rules, or laws, which is exactly what school wants: obedience. They don’t want defiance or rebellion, they want you to obey them and the teachers without questioning any of the practices that go on in school. Maturity, on the other hand, is when one becomes mature, or fully-grown up. A lot of people confuse maturity with conformity, but in my opinion, you can definitely be a rebel and be mature at the same time.
Look back at the cartoon I showed you, “The Maturity Climb”. A mature person is one who does not assume a lot, can take responsibility for their own problems, focuses on making friends, wants to help rather than hurt, respects others intelligence, is obsessed with learning and doesn’t know everything at the start, is able to talk out problems and understand them, is grateful, listens, knows limits, and isn’t afraid to fail. School teaches the exact opposite of this.
School turns people into angry people. How many people can you find in school who share the characteristics of immaturity in the cartoon? I know a lot of my people at my school who share such characteristics. Obsession with status is one big thing that goes on in schools, and the arrogant thought of your age being a sign of your maturity is another. Entitlement is one big thing I see everywhere, and focusing on differences is another. You see all of these characteristics in school and people in school. Yet what school does turn most of us, at the end, is to be obedient. To not challenge authority, to see authority as always right, to never make our own opinions, to follow mainstream. That’s called conformity.
I think another poisonous thing is the arrogant thought that age is somehow an indicator of how mature you are. I’ve seen many older people who can share a lot of characteristics of being immature, yet see themselves somehow as mature. In reality, age does not matter when it comes to maturity, or even conformity. Age is just a number, and only shows how long you’ve been on earth. Maturity isn’t something that’s purely gained with age, it’s gained by learning. It’s gained by understanding and thinking. Conformity is gained by obeying all your authority figures.
In the end, maturity and conformity are most certainly NOT the same thing. Being conformed means being and obeying the same as everyone else. Being a rebel means you don’t follow those orders. You don’t have to be a rowdy rebel, either. You can simply decide to speak out against mainstream ideas, and break social norms.