The reporter was rambling about the beach where college students were celebrating the beginning of summer. On more than one occasion the body of the person being interviewed had the word “censored” stamped across the picture because too much of the body was exposed. The reporter randomly asked questions concerning the meaning of Memorial Day. Much to my dismay, the answers to the questions were analogous to a comedy skit. The behavior exhibited was gleeful and at times disrespectful. The interviewees were in their late teens and would be classified developmentally as adolescents.
Adolescence has been defined as that period in our development between childhood and adulthood. Pat Boone in his book defined the period as twixt 12 and 20. It is good to know that Childhood is characterized by a state of dependence and innocence. During this period children need to be shepherded and protected. Adolescence shepherds in the rush of pubescence. This period of life requires a developmental approach that calls for teaching responsibility and respect. It should have time limits and is not a destination. There should be a noticeable difference between a 15 year old and a 25 year old. However, it is my observation that the lines of development are becoming blurred, and there does not appear to be a difference. Have we dropped the baton? Are the Millennials developmentally delayed and failing to move into adulthood.
Is it possible, just possible, in the midst of cultural turmoil the modern world is making us miserable? Is it possible in every daily news cycle multiple daggers are thrown at the Chief Executive Officer of the United States. Is it possible that a state legislature’s largest legal action revolves around which restroom you can enter? Is it possible that an entire culture of people have gone mad and the sanctity of life is no longer a priority? Is it possible for a generation, known as the millennial, be caught in a perpetual state of adolescence?
The first axiom of behavioral psychology is to determine if you are positively rewarding bad behavior. If that is the case, the behavior will repeat itself. As adults we are guilty of rewarding bad behavior and making excuses of protection for the behavior. Instead, we should be helping these young people understand what it means to become mature and self-reliant. We must remove the training wheels by becoming a ‘broken’ record’ and extinguishing the bad behavior and replacing it with specific guidelines and requirements leading to ‘growing up.’ This is not a debatable subject. We as adults have this responsibility. The definition of discipline is “to teach.” If teaching is not effective and the behavior persists, then punishment for wrong behavior is the next step in the hierarchy of behavioral management.
Why Should I Care? What can one person do? I feel as small as a grain of sand on the sea shore. But I find the way of life I am seeing emerge in our society offensive. Sometimes the world seems a stranger. I am quickly reminded of a verse stored away in the recesses of my mind. “you are the salt of the earth.”(Matthew 5:13). Couple that verse with a statement ringing from my mother when she would season the food in preparation of a meal, “just a dash of salt can make all the difference.” Therefore, the question is how can I assist the generation that appears stuck in adolescence grow into adulthood?
It was true before the presidential election and is true today. The issues we face are not political they are spiritual. We know the truth and we must advance that truth. We cannot stay in our “holy huddles” and stand on the premise people of faith do not get involved in politics. If people want to call me political, let them. I will hold to the truth no matter what the cost. “do not grow weary in doing good, for in due time…………………………………..My mission is to share the truth……a dash of salt goes a long way.
Words of wisdom, Gary!