Another thing I noticed was an unnerving passivity. When I saw students doing their campus jobs, they seemed to have a tough time. Over and over, faculty members and administrators noted how their students’ limited experience with hard work made them oddly fuzzy-headed when facing real-world problems rather than classroom tests.
I was worried. How would these kids survive once they left home for good? And how would an America built on self-discipline and deferred gratification survive?
Adolescence is a great thing, but we’ve made it too long. It’s supposed to be a protected space in which kids who’ve become biologically adult are not obligated to immediately become emotionally, morally and financially adult. Done right, adolescence is a greenhouse phase, but adolescence should not be an escape from adulthood; it should be when we learn how to become adults.