Friday, June 8, 2012

"The Go-Nowhere Generation"

In a New York Times article, "The Go-Nowhere Generation," Todd Bucholz and Victoria Bucholz describe a situation addressed in "Out of Sight." The Times article gives compelling reasons to make sure our children have the courage to try. The entire NYT article from March 10 can be found at "The Go-Nowhere Generation." 

Here is the beginning of "The Go-Nowhere Generation."

"Americans are supposed to be mobile and even pushy. Saul Bellow’s Augie March declares, 'I am an American ... first to knock, first admitted.' In 'The Grapes of Wrath,' young Tom Joad loads up his jalopy with pork snacks and relatives, and the family flees the Oklahoma dust bowl for sun-kissed California. Along the way, Granma dies, but the Joads keep going."

"But sometime in the past 30 years, someone has hit the brakes and Americans — particularly young Americans — have become risk-averse and sedentary. The timing is terrible. With an 8.3 percent unemployment rate and a foreclosure rate that would grab the attention of the Joads, young Americans are less inclined to pack up and move to sunnier economic climes."

"The likelihood of 20-somethings moving to another state has dropped well over 40 percent since the 1980s, according to calculations based on Census Bureau data. The stuck-at-home mentality hits college-educated Americans as well as those without high school degrees. According to the Pew Research Center, the proportion of young adults living at home nearly doubled between 1980 and 2008, before the Great Recession hit. Even bicycle sales are lower now than they were in 2000. Today’s generation is literally going nowhere. This is the Occupy movement we should really be worried about."

Young people (or anyone!) who are "risk-averse and sedentary" will not grow, use their gifts, or fulfill the best God has for them.

"The Go-Nowhere Generation" ends by saying that we must do "whatever it takes to get our kids back on the road."  They are right.

While home should be a secure place and maybe a retreat, it should give courage to launch, not stay.  How do we make home comfortable and safe, but at the same time make sure our children have the courage to leave, grow, and make a difference?

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