Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Myth of Adolescence/One Year Anniversary

This is the one year Anniversary of when I started this blog in January of 2014. Since I took the page with this essay off of my blog back in October, I thought it would be a neat anniversary Post!

This is a paper I wrote while in Classical Conversations Challenge A. I still agree with it and think that is is vitally important to today's culture. I wrote it after reading Carry on Mr. Bowditch. (which I highly recommend reading.)

The Young Adult or Adolescent?

          Nat as a young man and the young people of today are quite different in how they Respect others, what their motivation in life is and how they act when something goes wrong, hurts or isn't the way they wished. The modern, man created, "Adolescent Age" is a dangerous age when young people try to spread their wings. They want to make decisions and have responsibility but are often held back. Nat was not held back at all. He was abruptly pushed forward. Nat is a trustworthy example of how to be strong when the odds are against you, even when your young and even when its hard. Giving up was just not an option in Nat's marvelous mind. Many times teens, who think that its cool not to give their schoolwork their full effort, also think that somehow it is weird to be the super smart kid. In reality the kids that try their best, put full brain power, and a passionate heart into things do better in life. Todays culture tells kids its "normal" to be disrespectful to their parents and that whining and blubbering about things is the way to get attention. There are many fascinating facts and opinions about the young adults in Nat's time and the adolescents of today.
          Young men in Nat's time tried their best not to complain. In the book Carry on Mr. Bowditch, Nat is growing out of his winter coat and his older brother Hab does not haveone either. When He asked Hab if he got cold, the answer, "plenty cold" surprised the young boy. Nat wondered why his brother when asked if he was cold by friends would say he wasn't, when yet he truly was. Hab explained that "boys don't blubber" they don't whine if something hurts they suck it up! You would not find Hab complaining that someone pushed him down in a game of tag. Not "blubbering" also shows a great deal of self control. Even very young children can learn to STOP crying after they have gotten that initial wow-that-hurt cry out. Young men of the past were strong and expected to be protectors of women. Whereas the young men of today are more likely to be whining and hiding behind their mothers skinny jeans. Nat or Hab would die to protect one of their loved ones but most likely you average teen would not. This weakness found in boys can also be found in men and leads to lots of followers or "sheep" of the crowd and not strong leaders taking a stand for what they believe, as evidenced by the state of our country. Future men of Nat's time took pride in being strong even when it hurt, contrasting how todays future men might brag about being tough but when things started to get bad complain and scamper off.
          Most children, teens, and adults are motivated about something. Whether it is being motivated to wear the coolest clothes or to learn Latin in a year. Nat loved to learn. He loved to gain knowledge and keep it as a treasure in his brain. He was motivated to find new things out. Lots of parents are instilling a love of learning in their children too and their teens are motivated to research things and learn from their elders. Nat had a dream, a goal in life and he was constantly working toward that goal. When he decided to do something he did it. There was no him haughing or "Johnny isn's doing it". Many kids today think that schoolwork is a heavy burden that parents and teachers make them carry. They often do not have enthusiasm for learning about Gods intelligent creation. They love to be the coolest among their peers but thats where the motivation stops, and that does not help them when they are thrown into this awesome and sometimes fierce world. Nat did not stop with a love of learning he went on to teach that same knowledge to his fellow friends. Many of them, like todays kids thought they could not learn.They thought they should leave that up to the geniuses. But Mr. Bowditch's friends did learn the higher math and were able to figure out how to sail a ship. Rather than seeking to further the kingdom of God, with some exceptions, teens today are focused on video games, clothing style and bafflingly trying to appear stupid as this is seen as cool.
          Nat had a very important, biblical, and charming character called respect. He respected himself. He tried hard not to let himself waste away for nine years indenturement. He respected the brain God had given him and tried hard to use it righteously. Although wishing he was not indentured, Nat did not treat Mr. Rope and Hodges with ugliness or strife. He treated them respectfully, as honorable men. He did not argue with his father for making that hard decision to indenture him. People respected him not just for his brains but for his attitude. Nat and his fellow young men respected peoples rights to be free. They respected Gods law over mans law. Many teens today think that Gods law is "ancient" and not important any more. Nat respected the lives of his comrades so much so that he wrote a navigation book to prevent any more lives being carelessly lost at sea. As many murders, bullies, and abortions show lots of young people are not valuing life as a precious gift from God to be treasured. This sad truth of disrespectful teenagers today is much different from the respectful, wisdom seeking Nat.
          Adolescence is a created age when responsibility is withheld and rebellion is accepted as "normal teenage stuff". There were no Adolescents when Nat was a boy. There was just children and adults. Of, course there were young people trying to make their way, but they were respected and they had responsibility. There is a God-given desire to own something, to have responsibility, to spread wings, to make decisions.Todays teens still want to make decisions but when they are told their "too young for
that" they keep searching for something... A lot of the rebellion we see in todays culture is caused by this. Teens need to spread their wings one way or another and if parents choose not to let them make those decisions, they will find places to NOT be held back... This does not mean that children when Nat was a boy, were let to do whatever they want, but that young men and women such a Nat were TAUGHT how to make their way in the world. Mr. Bowditch's story shows us that life was hard and he had to work hard. In todays culture everything is at our fingertips and it instills a bit of laziness. This is another trait that often seems affiliated with the "teenage years". Not all teenagers are bearing that lazy title of adolescent, like Nat they are spending those years striving to show that they are responsible so they can take on bigger tasks to reach for their dreams
"His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."
Matthew 25:21

          Teenagers today are much different than teenagers of Nat's time. Many things make it easier for young people to serve the Lord and many things make it much much harder. Nat is a wonderful refreshment and fabulous example of a self motivated, respectful and strong young man. Most teenagers today do not seem to be striving to gain the knowledge that Nat was able to and to have his non-lazy passionate attitude. Young people do not have to be called by the rude name Adolescent they can wear proudly young woman or young man. Many things in life boil down to respect. Respect for God, which requires us to do our best to obey him and his laws, is a very important thing missing in some of todays young lives. When we respect ourselves, and the bodies and minds God gave us we are motivated to learn more. To fill those brain shelves with useful information. Although it may seem sometimes like teens aren't magnificently motivated, more than likely they are motivated, just not to the right things. Sadly the differences in the modern young people and the teens of Nat's time seem to show a rapid decrease in moral standards and direction.