First, some background. I’ve been in many conversations over the past few years about the state of young adults today, particularly of the male persuasion. Now most of the “evidence” I’ve been talking about involves Mormons but I’ve come across several media pieces that seem to indicate that this is a society-wide problem. The problem can best be described as ambivalence, toward school, toward finding good employment, toward settling down and growing up in general.
I have several friends from mission and college days who are still single. They bemoan the state of single LDS males, especially of their age group. This was echoed by my parents who were in the leadership of a young singles ward in Fredericksburg for many years. They all say that the men are floundering, living with their parents still, not going to school, working at Best Buy, and not dating any of the wonderfully accomplished women. When pressed about why they aren’t dating they say something about being intimidated by the women, who are well into or finished with their education, are financially independent, and by all standards, more grown-up. They instead date non-members and convert them (or not) or date teenagers and marry them when they are still quite young, or they just don’t date at all.
Using Fredericksburg as an example is very interesting because generally speaking the parents of these young adults are all very educated and accomplished. They’ve had good examples and high expectations from their family and community, and still these problems are prevalent. Such a mystery.
Now to the latest article I’ve come across in the NY Times. Just a warning, it’s pretty long, but supremely interesting. It talks about this phenomenon among the 20-something crowd and discusses a new movement to describe this as a distinct developmental period, like adolescence, called “emerging adulthood”.
Read it and share your thoughts. How does it compare to your own observations of this age group? How do you think this is manifest in the LDS community? What are the positives and negatives of delayed adulthood? How has your view of this situation been changed by the article? I’ll share some of my thoughts in the comments after I have a little more time to think things through.