Whenever I return to my husband's little hometown of Fuquay-Varina, NC, I'm always amazed that people actually do grow up. The little children who once ran down the aisle for children's church now hang back and talk about politics and sports. The young girls who once tugged on my sleeve announce college acceptances. The high school students I used to know now have careers and spouses, and to my amazement and delight, new babies!
Children do become adults in this little town. And at least here, they don't seem to mind.
I've been studying theories of emerging adulthood this month. Researchers worry that many adolescents in this generation do not transition well into adulthood. They seek pleasure, fame, and ease and delay assuming the adult responsibilities of financial independence, marriage, family, and careers until well beyond 30 years of age.
Nobody wants to be an adult anymore.
But not in this town. This community celebrates, encourages, and teaches the graceful transition to adulthood. It's a privilege and a joy to raise children, work hard, and serve your community. Your own father did this, and his father before him. Your own mother did this, and her mother before her. You welcome the hard work of it. You welcome the blessing of dying to self and raising up the next generation.
I'm sitting quietly in the pew, watching the new generation. I feel old but full of peace and joy. There's something so right about growing old and serving others.
Maybe the researchers need to come visit this town. Some American children do grow up well.
Do you worry that children aren't growing into adulthood well?