Why do we push maturity on kids so much?

Jesus himself said that we should have the faith of a child, so why do we use these phrases?

“Act your age!”
“Grow up!”
“Quit acting like a child!”
“How old are you?”

I speak mostly from my own experience; 12-year-olds are at the pivotal point between childhood and adulthood where they know words like “fuckface”, but they also will clean every piece of trash off the classroom floor to earn a piece of chocolate. The middle-school mind is capable of much, and I have seen a fair amount of it.

A student, after constant chatter and no productivity, was sent to the office, as per the agreement he has with the principal. Upon receipt of the hall pass and realization of what is happening, he sputters to me, “you’re expelling me right now, do you know that?”

This particular student is on a very thin thread; the principal has told him that if he continues to get sent out of class, then there is no reason for him to be at this school. This lecture had the desired effect… for about a week. Now this student is back to his old ways and, true to the mind of a mid-adolescent, is unable to put together the actions and the consequence.

If I refuse to spit out my gum, distract other students during the test, write nothing on my own test, and don’t follow directions right away, then there’s a good chance I will not be wanted in class.

Another student:

“Mr. V, are we playing a game today?”

[Looking toward the Agenda section of the whiteboard] “If only there were a place in the room where I could write down what we are doing today, that would be great.”Student: [pause] “There’s room on the whiteboard right there.”

Mr. V:“And look next to it, where it says AGENDA, it says exactly what we are doing today! Hot Dog!”

Student: [longer pause] “We’re playing Hot Dog today?”

I am currently interviewing for a job teaching Geometry to high school students. Geometry is my favorite subject and I love students, plus, this job feels like a youth group in that it monitors the holistic growth of the student, not just academic.

Confident as I may be that this new job will require less time with my wearing my “Hard-Ass” hat and requiring an orderly classroom, I am unsure how to start this job. I have never had a “first day of school” where I am captain of a greasy-faced and baggily-dressed ship. I can only hope that I will handle my classroom with the dignity and grace that the post requires,

and not punch the mouthy kid in the nose.