Thursday, August 26, 2010

My opinion re: Jeffrey Arnett NYT magazine article

I emerged as an adult in high school. As an adolescent I lived what I needed on my interior journey. I took only one algebra (which I flunked once and then passed with a D.) I joyfully took took choir as an elective for four years ( which I flunked once for giving the nun grief about the inequities of her practices) and sought for group to belong/connect to. I never gave a thought to the future, and my folks were too busy with eight kids to “helicopter” me. I had little jobs cleaning and being a mothers helper. Mostly I concerned myself with my best friends and who might I kiss ( the adolescents work being learning to belong and intimacy)

Now as a mom, an educator and an armchair psychologist I can not help but wonder if adolescents were left to pursue the developmental work they need between ages fourteen and eighteen they might arrive sooner and with less ambivalence. Currently adolescents must concern themselves with four math classes, a diatribe of standardized tests, the constant pressure of “ this will help you get into college” and a media that sexualize them from a most tender age. Parents are too afraid to ask the question “What so good about belonging anyways?.” Further due to our own fears and abashed hopes we pressure them and leaving little room for the essential question “What is my purpose? What is my passion?”

Jeffrey Anett is asking some valid questions but I think he misses the essential ones.

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