A reporter at The New York Times recently wrote an essay called “The Death of Adulthood in American Culture”. I’m a light reader of this newspaper so I thought it might lead me to have a great dialogue with my peers. Once I read it, there was a dialogue but it was a heated one. The overall image in my mind of this reporter is a grumpy old man who doesn’t want to accept change. He admits to being a middle aged white male and being used to seeing men on television who are patriarchs. Now that the mainstream media are beginning to turn away from these all-encompassing, alpha-male characters, he feels out of place.
Maybe I’m taking this too personally.
If I step back and look at this, I understand why I needed to read it. The essay might not have been as politically correct as many people would have liked but it blew the top off a topic that was whispered before. Our culture is changing and is effecting our adults first. This phenomenon doesn’t usually start with the adults. However the adults that make up Generation X grew up seeing the worst effects of growing up. How can you tell these people to grow up when their elders were high often and breaking our economy from one year to the next? Emulating them would be blasphemous. Our traditional ideas of what adults look like, whether male or female, may be dead. At the very least, it is dying. What we can do now is figure out what kinds of adults we want to be.