If you put together everything that Paul says about the characteristics of children and the need to grow up, I think we can glean the following:
- Children need to be under authority, rather than be given authority.
- Children who are given freedom/authority are prone to be exploited by bad teachers and leaders.
- Children who want to stay that way have a tendency to resent and persecute those who are growing up.
- Adults should grow up but there is a temptation to attempt to remain a child; and many succumb to it.
- Remaining a child is really not an option; one can only choose between growing up and becoming warped beyond human recognition.
This last is in our fairy tales. Think Pinocchio’s choice to either become a real son or else turn into a donkey.
One might profitably meditate what might happen to an institution–whether a business, a nation, a world order, or a denomination in the Church–that came under the control of people who did not grow up.