Wednesday, November 9, 2005

:::adulthood:::


Apparently I am in dis ‘hood
You know da adult hood
OK
But I feel like being an adult is a bad thing. I talk to other people who are close to my age and I find that they are having a hard time admitting that they are adults. Makes me wonder if they feel like adulthood is a bad thing, too. So much effort is directed at holding on to the vestiges of youth (why else do you see 40 year old women wearing navel revealing t-shirts?). Used to be adulthood meant something important – something respectful. But then maybe adulthood became something too much like living in a different reality. Adult talk, adult fashion (slacks), adult activity (jobs, marriage) – kind like another world! Can’t say as when I look at the adult reality at least how it used to be defined I am really excited about becoming one – or more precisely admitting that I am one.
But come on - how do you really know that you’ve become an adult anyway. Used to be 18 was the marker. Now it just means your teacher won’t go to jail for sleeping with you (Hamilton ‘04) – oh yeah and drinking. Sorry! Adult is nothing to aspire to for people who are younger. Adults spending all their energy staying ‘young’ reinforces the notion that adulthood should be avoided. And like I said maybe becoming an adult is stupid cause the whole ‘hood is corrupted – spoiled.
The researchers tell us that adolescence is expanding especially at the top end. Are we cool with that? I don’t know. Are we cool with the idea that maybe eventually there won’t such a thing as adulthood? Does this mean I might have zits all my life?
I’m so confused…

13 comments:

Cathy said...

just passing through; hello.

Gil said...

Very interesting post Dale. I think your observations are pretty accurate. We are no longer a culture that aspires to adulthood but seeks to prolong adolescence.

John Stackhouse has a great chapter in 'Evangelical Landscapes' on this topic. He quotes Quentin Schultze's 'Dancing in the Dark' as his introduction to the idea of 'perpetual adolescence'. Maybe you've already read these.

I think you're asking important questions here (are we cool with this?). I would ask the question: what is it about adolescence (besides our youth) that we want so desperately to hang onto? Answering that question might give us a clue as to why we're so afraid of adulthood.

Incoming... said...

that's just it Gil i am totally befuddled - growing up I wanted to be an adult. To me it meant legitimacy and to a lesser extent freedom/control. I didn't much care for the responsibility aspect of adulthood and I had no clue what adult stress would look like. Growing up I knew that the idea of maturity more often meant conformity than anything else. and most of my impressions of adulthood were way too serious. I can't say that I am consciously trying to avoid adulthood (that's mostly cause I really don't know what it is) - it's just that I'm not doing some of the same things people 'my age' are doing. But thenis anyone acting thier age. I'm sure the answer to your question gives some important light on this issue, Gil.
But...
You'd be looking at some serious coinage to try and get me to live like a teenager again - but then maybe that's what I am trying to do. you know what would be cool is to see someone live an adult life that makes some sense - and maybe that, in the end, is up to...




Shoot I hate that when I spank myself

Paul Morgun said...

Excellent post Dale. I find this to be very true. I have often been able to compare the difference in two societies, Easter European and American. (not always humbly:) )But one thing that astonished me is the fact that adolescence is prolonged and pushed. IN USSR of course you grew up fast, since at 18 you were in the military for two years, aways from fmaily friends and were conditioned into adulthood, then you were expected to continue college, military and get married, thats just what you did. In fact even in baptist churches in USSR if you were 25 and still single, the elders would meet with you to see if there are reasons why you are not married. Now obviously some of these are crazy ways of doing things, but adulthood was something desired in europe. I have been reading alot of books on this as I see many of my youth, espessially those that drop out of school, or that come from divorced homes go through this. And the theme seems the LACK of RIGHT OF PASSAGE in North America. There is no Adults, taking the kids on a retreat on a special passage into adult hood its lost. There is a special community bondness in the right of passages for youth. It was done in Eastern Europe as Fathers and Sons would go on trips prior to military service as a right of passage for a boy to a man. Native Americans had same and many cultures still have this. THe loss of community and a sense of responsibility by the community to the young people has lost this RIGHT of Passage. Many books now in youth specialties encourage youthpastors to accomadate this passage for graduating students to have a retreats with them, as they enter adult hood...anyways i have done lots of thinking and reasearch in this and we should talk...this post is jsut getting to long so i will stop...but the key is the RIGHT OF PASSAGE given by the Family circle to the child and the community that sends the child out and claims them as an adult.

Paul Morgun said...

Ok i got excited and so my grammar sucks, and spelling even worse, i mean RITE of PASSAGE. There is a commuinity responsibility to acknowledge the youths change to adulthood that is facilitated by community and family And the right of PAssage is looked forward too not avoided...yeah i am excited its my baby this is what i wrote my youthmin grad stuff on...

Paul Morgun said...

So when you have youth/adults who are 19-27 cruzing streets with no jobs or future. There parents didnt care if they droped out of school, they come from broken homes and the community never adopted them to help...thus they have never passed through a rite into adulthood and purposeful lifestyle which was never given to them so they drift aimlessly and drink them selves in sorrow of loniliness ... its really sad. The miracle is that there are young people that become adults with out the rite of passage, and no facilitation..thats the real miracle

YootguyMark said...

So does being an adult then mean certain fun stops and other responsibilities are added and you have a certain way you need to act and be. Thanks but I would like to decide what being an adult means for me. Some people think I am still a kid because i am loud and have fun and play with kids. Does that not make me an adult? On the other hhand parents seem to think it's okay to send their kids to come and have a good time and learn about God and put them under my care. Not an adult in some peoples eyes. I guess i agree with you guys in a sense and would like adulthood defined but too often that means lets take the fun out of peoples lives and make them serious and stinky and money obsessed. Why would I want to be an adult if that's the case?

Just some thoughts,
md

YootguyMark said...

Don't get me wrong being a zit faced, girl crazy, hormone doesn't interest me at all. The Rite of Passage is an interesting concept. Does this need to be an official thing? It looks as though Paul has got himself a little excited over this one. Excited like a teenager!?!

md

Paul Morgun said...

Good points Mark. I dont think being an adult is end of having FUN...then i am not one either, going through the rite of passage and becoming an adult is the acceptence of responcibility...not the end of FUN...adult hood in most places on earth means having fun and enjoying life, it also means accepting responcibility!! Good point to make MArk THanks!

Incoming... said...

Rites of Passage have some interesting potential but what is it a passage to...
By endorsing Rites of Passage I would assume that you (Paul) think there is something important about becoming an adult. Obviously I would like to have a good definition of the concept - one that doesn't make adulthood seem like robotic drudgery. But what if in 15 years there is no such thing as adulthood or it is relegated to insignificance. Simply redefining adulthood may not rescue it from the expanding encroachment of adolescence (which according to the latest stats is from 9.5 to 25 and expanding)
I think the Rite of Passage thing is super connected to Biblical concepts - baptism, born again, functional discernment in the body...
this is a wonderland

roverT said...

What if I am a person...no categories. What does it matter? Sure we should strive for maturity (growing and becoming a better person), but does it really matter if my navel shows when I am 40 (of course if I am 75, overweight and wearing a speedo, we have a problem). Or what sort of clothes I wear (if a 14 year old wears slacks are they an adult?). Does a rite of passage make us an adult, or does it act much like a birthday...now you are 18, magically you are an adult. The categories make it easier for us to work with people, that's why we came up with the categories isn't it? So people aren't growing up soon enough, that is probably because we don't expect them to, how many young people have serious responsibilities. How many Youth Pastors hear comments like "your job is important because you are raising up the future leaders in the Church." Why not leaders right now? Why don't we expect more of young people? Is it because they are immature, or are they immature because we don't expect.

Paul Morgun said...

Well we can hypothetically debate "who am I" for ever...point is adult hood is a step out of childish way of thinking and living...its acceptance of responsibilities to adulthood, to a community...i wont beat this issue to death...

Incoming... said...

really didn't mean to scratch off the scab of our youth pastor insecurities about whether we are or are not adults...
It is clear that our role of advocacy for youth that heightens the tension for us on this issue...
Of course i'm not just interested in just being a social worker helping youth become some arbitrary idea (adulthood) - but somehow i think this developmental issue is connected to how we view the imperatives of our ministry. Check out the next post for more some quotes to chew on...