The criticism of the young by the old is perhaps mankind's most cherished tradition, along with passing the buck and other assorted bromides. Yet, there seems to be a growing consensus in American culture, media, and publishing that young people are not "growing up" the way they used to. There's plenty of evidence that this is a documented phenomenon with the emergence of phrases like "perpetual adolescence" and "emerging adulthood." Publications like the Wall Street Journal, the National Review, and Salon have all recently featured articles about teens and twentysomethings failing to transition into adulthood. The Journal's article penned by Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse offers his new Republican and anti-Trump conservative view of how to make America great again - be better parents, eschew our obsession with technology and consumerism, and learn responsibility and adult skills by doing things such as travelling and living out of our comfort zone. These ideas make a lot of sense - even as we must acknowledge that telling American parents to do a better job has long been the Republican "platform" that has had little effect in actually becoming a reality in contemporary families. Senator Sasse's article was drawn from his recent book The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis and how to Rebuild Self Reliance. And I'm generally a big fan of anyone credibly drawing from the philosophy of Emerson and Thoreau. These ideas definitely warrant looking into further. In the meantime, I'd like to share a list of advice from the new book about the life of Jimmy Buffett. In a profile on mothers and sons in this week's Parade Magazine, there was some sensible advice that the pirate songster's mother shared with him. There are some similar ideas to Sasse's book.
- Read often, especially the classics (So, this means books, not just social media posts)
- Accept people for who they are, not what they do for a living
- Be well-travelled
- Learn to be a listener
- Live by the sea
- Listen to your spirit and find joy
- Education, like money, doesn't necessarily make you happy or successful