The term adulting is defined by the Urban Dictionary as “to do grown up things and hold responsibilities such as a 9-5 job, a mortgage/rent, a car payment, or anything else that makes one think of grown ups.” Cosmopolitan reports that in the past year, the term “adulting” has increased in usage by 700 percent on Twitter. That’s in their article titled Kindly Shut the Hell Up About “Adulting.” I guess I’ll ignore that advice.
Even though I spend most days monitoring Twitter, it wasn’t until reading Ben Sasse’s article How to Raise an American Adult that it came to my attention. Of course, most of those I follow on Twitter actually are adults, no matter their age. Plus they’re ham radio operators and have more interesting things to do than declare they’re grown up, even if only for a moment.
Ben Sasse is a senator from my home state of Nebraska and has just written a book titled “The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis—and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance.” I recommend his essay on raising an adult and I hope to read his book soon.
The gist of his essay is that a higher percentage of those in their twenties are still living at home. Others have extended their college years where they are also treated as adolescents and protected from all manner of things that would help them mature, including ideas that might be frightening. My favorite riff on this subject was recently published in The Onion under the title Berkeley Campus on Lockdown After Loose Pages From ‘Wall Street Journal’ Found on Park Bench.
He also describes an experience we both shared growing up in Nebraska, adults calling us out on what ever mischief we engaged in as kids. Perhaps it does take a village. For me it was a small town of 300 people all of whom either corrected me on the spot or advised my dad that I needed to be spanked. That was advice that he nearly always followed.
Here’s what Ben recommends for raising your kids, advice he and his wife follow:
- Resist Consumption—teach your children the difference between need and want. Find pleasure in the essentials and recognize their value.
- Embrace the Pain of Work—get a job even if only for a summer or for chores and duties around the house. Difficult tasks are to be conquered not avoided.
- Connect Across Generations—kids live in an age bubble of those born in the same year. Get them engaged with adults and caring for younger children.
- Travel Meaningfully—get outside your comfort zone and see the world around you. It can be across town; it doesn’t have to be around the world.
- Become Truly Literate—read books and particularly those written about Western civilization. He notes the “Century Club,” a challenge of reading 100 books in a year. That sounds interesting.
That is a very brief summary. I encourage you to read the entire article.
I will also note that Scouting follows these recommendations. There’s minimalist outdoor camping and hiking. There’s the work of camp chores and rank achievements across all manner of activities and topics. Connection across generations comes through working with your Scoutmaster, merit badge counselors and other adult leaders as well as other Scouts of different ages. Travel happens in order to get into the outdoors to camp. Literacy happens through reading all those books the program publishes. It’s a great program and truly does develop adults.
My thoughts on #Adulting. I hope it provides some light for your PathForeWord.