Comprehending the Chasms

There is a difference between being heard and being listened to.
There is a difference between knowing things and understanding them.
There is a difference between being known and being recognized.
There is a difference between believing in something and merely hoping it's true.

I remember, as a teacher of both seventh and eighth graders, the bizarre leap made from the seventh grade to the eighth grade.  In a matter of roughly nine weeks, kids so out of control, so floundering in the sea of hormones they suddenly found themselves drowning in, finding a bit more maturity and coming back to school a bit more in control.  Not much, mind you.  But enough to see a genuine and stark difference.  It's almost magical.

There is a difference between being called a name and being assaulted.
There is a difference between being disrespected and being harmed.
There is a difference between a disagreement and a fight.
There is a difference between posting something political on social media and, you know, actually doing something.

I see a similar jump in maturity when someone moves out of their parent's home and has to forge their own way into the world.  Do their own laundry, pay their own bills, experience loneliness and begin walking the path of an adult.  There are more distractions with the freedom of adulthood and a different set of rules to follow.  Not everyone makes that leap at the same time.

There is a difference between experience and wisdom.
There s a difference between laughter and the ability to laugh at oneself.
There is a difference between being an ally to a cause and being a follower.
There is a difference between talking a good game and walking that talk.

Some, as they grow older, never make those wonderful cognitive chasm jumps.  Some do and somehow find their way backwards in the habits of their childhood.  Some hit a ditch, their tires stuck in the mud and give in to the distractions and mountains of meaningless minutia.  

Children are far from innocent - born as creatures of unceasing want and demands for constant satisfaction.  The harbingers of all the impulses adults fight to control - pointless rage, using excuses to avoid accountability, blaming others (other races, other religions, The Man, and all 'Isms") for our own inability to rise above the petty bullshit of society - to stay a child is to acquiesce to being a feral being.

There are differences.  Comprehending them and adapting your behavior is the difference between the fool and the sage, the child and the adult.