Why is it that we are so old these days before we are considered an adult? Weren’t people married and with kids by age 18 ‘back in the day’? When did this shift occur? Honestly, I’m asking…so if anyone knows the answer please enlighten me.
I can’t decide if I’m complaining about this shift or not. The thought of ‘kids’ married at 16 these days drives me crazy, and yet, that is because I would bet my life on the fact that they do not have the maturity to enter into that commitment. Where as when 16-22 was the standard marrying age for women they had already been prepared by their society to handle all that came with it.
The downside to our delayed adulthood (regardless of marital status) is the resulting immaturity, self-gratification, and laziness that is allowed to be indulged in until this magical “adulthood” comes. When’s that? After high school?-not usually. After college?-Maybe. I can’t tell you how many customers I help at the bank who tell me they are getting the money for their kids. Their 25+ (usually 30+) year old ‘kids’. Yes, they are enabling them and it makes me hot under the collar. BUT! I meet some of these people and they honestly don’t know HOW to live independently and responsibly. Who do I blame? Parents?-Yes, but it’s bigger than that.
And even for those of us who have been raised right and are struggling through “adulthood” without the coddling of our parents…I often come upon situations and think “shouldn’t I have known this by now?” Or I look at the prospect of motherhood and tremble. Why? Because very little in our culture has actually cultivated in me some sense of how to handle that role.*** I had no younger siblings to care for and no other means to learn those things from. Our culture has in fact told me that I should focus on my career first before I ‘give it all up’ for my kids (or that I should just cart the kids off to daycare). Well what if I don’t care about a career?
Or an interesting challenge that is especially significant for the men. What about the fact that we are mature sexually at about 16-18 but the average marrying age several years later? Does no one else see the difficulty here? And yet, I would not encourage any 18 year old I know to get married without getting a few more years ‘experience’ under his belt.
Has our shift to focus on higher education led us away from ‘real life’ and responsibility of working hard at a job, paying bills, raising children? Has the shift towards materialism and/or corporate ladder aspirations led us away from the desire to have a solid family and supported, connected communities? Has the rise of the feminist movement led us to neglect the training of wives and mothers?
***Note: In the past few years God has provided me with wonderful insight and confidence building lessons in the world of “How to be a mother” But it’s all come from devoted Christian women, not from the world.