In The Vanishing American Adult, U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, Ph.D. in American history from Yale writes, “I believe our entire nation is in the midst of a collective coming-of-age crisis without parallel in our history. We are living in an America of perpetual adolescence. Our kids simply don’t know what an adult is any more –or how to become one. Many don’t see a reason even to try. Perhaps more problematic, the older generations have forgotten that we need to plan to teach them. It’s our fault more than it’s theirs.”
He argues that his book “has aimed to persuade you that our shared aspirations for our teens should be that all of them arrive at adulthood as fully formed, vivacious, appealing, resilient, self-reliant, problem-solving gritty souls. We do not want more timid souls who drift through their teens and twenties in a state of numb, passive, dependent, perpetual adolescence. We want the rising generation to be the kind of Americans who understand and emulate the vigor of Teddy Roosevelt in their citizenship, in their work, in their families.”
I loved the Afterword where he imagines Teddy Roosevelt speaking to a High School Graduating Class. It is culled from his actual words in his writings.
Sasse is heavy on the need to cultivate a work ethic in young people. He sees the lassitude of the rising generation often due to the absence of work experience and the passivity of the digital world. He is critical of schools taking over parental responsibilities, and age separation where each age group is insulated from experiencing multi-generations. Entitlements, consumerism, and failure to expose youth to different cultures share the blame.
He is big on reading – getting youngsters to read widely and well.
He is also a Christian and his emphasis on the spiritual life is profound, I recommend this book to all parents who care for their children.