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Interesting. Especially coming from your perspective of having the experience of different stages. I like the emphasis on the commitment to a local church.It all sounds very clear cut, but it does not feel that way, at least not to me. The decisions made in the 20's are having to be reexamined in light of the responsibilities coming from that family that came with the 30's. What was defining about the 20's was figuring out who we were and learning to be comfortable with that. Maybe the 30's are the process of us learning to live that out?So what can we expect in the next decade?
I think the alert--"warning, people often undergo a faith crisis in their late 20's" is very helpful. I wish someone had been around to tell me that fifteen years ago. Then I could have said to myself, "Stop taking your doubts so seriously, Ken. It's developmental" (emphasis on the mental).
Tricia... I'll be addressing all adult stages eventually... so stay tuned...
I was recently playing a video game with my son, who told me of an adult we know who is "really good" at the game we were playing. I was NOT that good at the game, and was getting utterly destroyed as a result. But what crossed my mind was this: The reason he (the person my son mentioned) was so good at video games is because he HAS NO FRIENDS.I've seen an increase in isolation among people my age and younger as we focus on technology to the neglect of cultivating relationships. Sure, text messaging, blogging, email and other technologies can keep us in touch, but it can also hinder our ability to look each other in the eyes, to notice body language, to hear tone of voice, and all the other foundational communication skills necessary for interpersonal contact.The older I get, the more old-school I get: I'm fighting for face-to-face conversation over a good cup of coffee these days, and almost every time I get moments like that with a friend they'll say, "Man, this was refreshing. We should do this more often."I'm not the greatest friend in the world, but I thought your comment about initiating and cultivating friendships was really important. I didn't do a good job cultivating friendships after college until I was about 30 years old, and regret it.And though I didn't even get into this aspect of it, it's REALLY important for pastors to do so, since ministry can be unusually lonely at times. Pastors need friends, and people need to know their pastor can be one, too. After all, people need to know you like them for who they are, not simply for what they can offer the church in service or resources...
Timely advice from the ol' man down at the quiet end of town. Thanks for the simple syllabus.
Dude. I appreciate this week's column. April is just a hop, skip, and a jump around the corner, and these issues have been weighing on my mind. So, like Adam said, this is timely. Thanks for your honest counsel.
Keith, this is a great post and something I first noticed in my first developmental psych class back in college. Of course, then the discussion was about extended adolescence as a Western phenom. As you have so aptly described, those extended adolescents are becoming extended young adults. Two thoughts come to my mind regarding this phenom.1) If this is developmental, can the cycle be reversed?2) What is the link between a more educated society and the extension of these periods in a person's life? If there is a direct link, is it a good thing or a bad thing?I especially appreciate your emphasis on the need to get involved in a local church after college graduation. This happened for me when I moved to a strange city and started my first career. I believe it is one of those things that helped decrease the length of some of these issues for me because it enabled me to solidify my purpose, faith, relationship building skills, etc.
Matt, you discerned the column right... I've been meaning to write up developmental (Psych & faith development) stuff in popular format for a long time--finally getting around to it... mostly sparked by a class I'm teaching now on adult Bible studies. Adam et.al. you are right--I am writing this as a reflective old man too... so I "remember" lots of this ;-) (Ahough when I get to "Older adults" I'll be looking right around my own corner ;-)
What do I think? YIKES!!!/YEA!
My wife and I (in our late 20's) often feel out of place because we have already gone through most of these phases in our early 20's. In fact I'd say we had them checked off by the time we left college.Most folks my age in our church are somewhere between single and just had their first child. Our oldest son starts school next year. However I'm learning that being ahead of the developmental curve gives us a bit more pastoral credibility with our peers since although we are the same age we have more experiance with marriage, raising kids, etc.One last interesting tidbit - there are two other families in our church that are roughly our age and have been married and had kids and all that jazz as long as us - both are bible college alumn. Does that mean anything?
Question for AJ - did you get married while in college? If not, how soon after?I ask because as a society that is another stepping stone we encourage young adults to postpone until every duck is in his or her absolute best row. This only lengthens the developmental curve. I'm sure where I heard it first, but someone advocated encouraging young couples to get married in college and the parents still provide the same level of financial support, but not more. Of course, this done to help the couple avoid premarital sex. I have so many friends who were engaged for four or more years. It was difficult to remain pure and they were not all successful.Sexual issues aside, could moving marriage back up to an earlier age reverse this trend? If we prepare the couple well enough as a church and help shatter the illusions, it can be a very successful move. My kids are only in the 1st & 4th grades, but this is an option I'm keeping on the table. I also make sure they hear about it a lot from me when talking to other people. Of course, we spend a lot ot time talking about preparing them for adulthood anyway without taking away their childhood.
Matt - I had been done college for a year and my wife had just finished in may and we were married in August. We only started dating in Feb of the year before so getting married while I ws still in college would have been a bit rushed (2 months from first date to wedding) but I totally would have gotten married while still in school. I have several friends who did and they are all still together today and happy.I think the longer you go single as an adult the harder it would be to adjust well to married life. Autonomy is a hard thing to live without once you are fully used to it. We went from living with our parents (as kids) to living with our college room mates and under the schools authority to living with each other (AFTER we were married) and so it just seemed like a natural progression. I have friends who have not found "that special someone" yet who have grown accustomed to having the run of their own house, completly controlling their finances and gennerally being a one person operation and I think it's going to a huge adjustment, doable but huge. I think when it's possible, keeping the gap between "leaving his father and mother" and "clinging to his wife" should be kept breif.I think people who wait forever to have kids are crazy to but that's off topic...
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