Monday, April 01, 2013

it's a start | a small idea from Raising Adults

It's a start

Depending on who’s numbers you like, starting about 1961 Boomers bore somewhere around 45 million babies. They are followed by a cohort of about 60 million younger siblings—the Millennials as folk like to say when they pigeon hole people.
Included in these numbers is an emergent population of young adults who live a sort of extended adolescence. These young men and women are in many ways more like old boys and girls. They remain semi-dependent on their parents, grandparents, older siblings or on public welfare systems. They may or may not be students; may or may not work. They don’t pay significant taxes because they don’t have significant incomes—at least not on the table.
Men in this extended boyhood are inordinately responsible for teenage pregnancies—legally adult but functionally adolescent males making babies with underage girls. The time-honored American high school custom of senior boys dating freshman girls now extends into the decade of those boys’ 20s. The girls are still likely to be 15. One American president called it child abuse and who can argue with that?
What we can argue is that many of those men are products of parenting in a larger system that raises children. That’s no excuse. But it may help us interpret otherwise baffling behavior. At the risk of being obvious, how surprised should we be when someone raised without a sense of responsibility—without an appreciation for cause and effect—acts irresponsibly and causes regrettable effects?
An awful lot of parents feel sad and guilty for raising children when the assignment was to raise adults; feel embarrassed by the looks they’re pretty sure they get from their parents; feel afraid of the consequences of our cultural (and perhaps personal) failures. No one set out to screw this up. Nearly everyone I know is trying—hoping—to do better.
Fair enough. It’s a start.
— from Raising Adults

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