Sunday, September 14, 2014
Rites of Passage
Growing up in the modern world has its perks, but we've lost some things we once had.
Have you ever look at old photos from 80 or more years ago and looked at the young people? At 18 they looked like adults, not like overgrown adolescents. They didn't have the luxury of a prolonged childhood. There was work to do.
Every culture had their rites of passage to adulthood. Sometimes it was pretty hardcore, like being sent into the wilderness with nothing but a spear and knife. Whatever the ritual, when it was over they joined the ranks of the adults. In more recent times it might have been marked with a change of wardrobe.
Usually these days it just comes down to reaching a certain age. Is that age 18? A time when a person can join the military without parental permission or live on one's own. Is it 21, the legal drinking age in most states? A night of binge drinking isn't much of a rite of passage. Maybe it's 22 – 26, when those who've been to college finally get out into the working world. Perhaps one considers themselves an adult when they marry? The transition to adulthood has gotten pretty murky.
Economic conditions haven't helped much. Grown men and women, even some married with children, have had to move back in with their parents. That doesn't do much for one's sense of control and independence.
Something has been lost when young adults can't live like full and free adult humans with all the perks and responsibilities of adulthood.