Are You Who You Want
by Kelly Salbato
observing the nature and state of mankind in this twenty-first century, it is
clear that both parents and young adults must find a new and innovative method
of helping young people prepare for the future. A method that helps them to
clearly determine and analyze the myriad of options set before them. This is a
complex process that often is executed with little or no thought and very often
produces catastrophic results such as choosing the wrong spouse, career or
entering parenthood with little or no skills to raise amazing children.
As you have seen and perhaps even experienced, young people struggle into adulthood with less than adequate skills for coping, decision making and navigating the complex challenges of our world today.
I believe these deficits most often stem from being raised in environments that have no clear structure; no concrete set of values; no moral boundaries that guide ones decision making. Furthermore, if you are blessed with parents who instill these values, often times the environment is so controlled that young people do not have the freedom to “test the waters” so to speak and are thrust into the adult world with no practical experience in life. As you can see, both of these “techniques” for lack of a better word, are potentially devastating to the young person attempting to break into adulthood with all of the skills they need to attain and maintain a successful and joyful life.
This process, which we shall call “The discernment of ones future” should be taken on with the utmost seriousness and thoughtfulness. One should attempt to decipher the best path in life to travel down and be able to walk down that path with confidence, knowing that they have armed themselves with the skills and knowledge necessary to bring to fruition that which they dream.
Back to parenting. As a parent of five children myself, the astounding number of children that I come across without a modicum of social grace is astounding. Children are for the most part neglected by their parents in the ways that matter while being overindulged in areas which cause a great deal of harm. For example, a child whose parents both work full time does not receive the guidance they need to develop into a productive adult, yet they receive “toys and adulation” for things that are not earned, nor deserved. These kids do not know how to apply the term delayed gratification because they are taught over and over again that receiving material things will, for a time, fill that emptiness which constantly threatens to overtake them if they give it a forum, such as a conscious thought.
It is with a great deal of sadness that I find this plan necessary, and yet, I cannot help but feel a surge of hope and anticipation as I see a way for young people to find a direction to their lives that they do not get anywhere else.
In the past, much thought was given to children’s futures and yet none was given to their desires. This too, was detrimental. Children from just two generations ago were raised with morals and guidance, so many married or chose jobs and remained in those situations out of obligation even if they were very unhappy doing so. While this kept society intact and strong through values, the children of these conditions grew up never wanting to do that to their own children. Instead of only sharing the good, they threw out anything that attempted to constrain them and this has resulted in the most amoral, crime ridden, insecure generation of kids that the world has ever seen.
In this generation, there has risen another group of people. Those who reject everything about the modern methods of parenting. This group of parents are often extremely religious, conservative and somewhat isolated from the rest of society. These parents often homeschool their children in an effort to protect them from the influences of the secular world. While on the surface this seems to many to be a good solution, it often results in kids who deem themselves “above” the rest of the public school kids and many times they are judgmental and unloving to many because they have been taught that the world is evil and thus, those in it are also evil. This, of course, is contrary to Gods Word which tells us to be in the world and yet not of the world.
These parenting methods don’t even take into account the many kids that are abused, both emotionally and physically. Those who are forced to behave as adults too soon are also at risk here. When these problems occur, the child will cease to mature and remain stuck in whatever phase they may be in simply to survive. Many children suffer from an extreme lack of love or approval from their parents and these children may not be able to mature into adulthood because they remain stuck in the mire
of childhood, always trying and failing to receive their parents love and approval. This can go on into adulthood unless the person can, as an adult, look at this problem and accept the loss. Once this is done the young adult can move forward free of the constraints of childhood. Of course, this process is not simple and may require quite a bit of work to overcome.
kinds of things does a young adult need to know? Well, I would first make
sure they know the basics. The practical things that all adults need to
know. How to budget; how to save; how to cook; how to do laundry; how to
shop; how to finance a car, a home; how to balance a checkbook; how to organize
a household. While many may scoff at this
particular lesson plan, most young adults are not taught these skills.
Next and perhaps the most important would be lessons in discernment. In this class, they would take a serious look at the
options open to them. In this environment, young adults could look at their choices without any outside influences which could pressure them into a bad decision. This will determine many of the other classes to take.
Broken down further, the discernment course will provide in depth analysis of the choices the young adult can make. The choice to attend will then obviously lead to some type of career, so this needs to be further studied. Becoming a parent will obviously be another choice, which would open the courses to the study of marriage and parenting.
Having a calling into the religious life would require further study and the single life still more.