Sunday, March 2

Emerging adulthood

A few weeks ago Beth Bilynskyj linked to Christian Smith's Books & Culture article "Getting a Life: the challenge of emerging adulthood." It's changed my mental framework a little. Originally, I was thinking that we had simply extended the boundaries of the teen years, creating a "protracted adolescence." But Smith seems to be more precise. The "emerging adulthood" of the 20's and 30's is a whole new separate cultural phenomena similar to what happened in the 20th century when we created the "teenage years."

This has also helped me to see more clearly what is happening in Micronesia where traditionally people don't really have a voice until they are about 40 years old. The expectations placed on pre-40-year-olds is pretty low. But as the West becomes more influential in the islands that tipping point seems to be dropping a little -- not much but a bit. So, we've now got some Micronesian pastors on Guam who are in their 30's. We've got some students at PIBC who could be emotionally and intellectually ready by their late 20's.

While the age of adulthood in the west goes up it is going down on the islands -- for better and worse. All cultures are in flux.
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