Why Catholic Millennials Need These Four Urgent Life Skills


I had a friend in college who was in a serious automobile accident that got into the newspaper. In the article, she was referred to as a woman. This was reasonable, as she was over 21 and living on her own, but it came as a surprise to her to be referred to as a woman and not a girl. (This would have been in the mid-1980s)

The age of physical maturation and the age at which people who are still in school consider themselves adults don’t coincide any more. I think people don’t think of themselves as adults until they believe they are old enough to be married. I remember a bit of shock at being in a wedding in college, looking at a relative, and instead of thinking “they are way too young to be getting married” as I had in the past when people my own age married, I thought, “Oh, goodness. She really is ready for this. She’s old enough. I am old enough!!” That released a bit of an inner “eeek!” let me tell you. (Thinking back, I would have been about 23 or 24 at the time.)

It astonished my husband and me to know how many high school students our sons’ age were not interested in getting a driver’s license. Those of us who are older remember when most people that age could not wait to get a driver’s license. Being able to drive isn’t the signal of independence and adulthood that it once was. Maybe it is because nobody can actually work on their own cars any more, I don’t know. Maybe it is because parents can keep their children under surveillance at all times now, if they want to do that. Maybe it is because the age at which marriage is considered a rational possibility is pushed out to the date of a family-supporting level employment, which seems like a day which is not even guaranteed to come at all! It does seem clear, though, that people are pushing the age at which they consider themselves adults later and later in life. When the day does come, they seem to feel they are pretending a role rather than traveling through a certain phase of life that was certain to come, ready or not.


Wow, I had no idea.

That’s really ironic, given that it’s a field devoted to helping other people feel better.


Another side effect I noticed is there’s much more of an expectation of complete control of life under 18. It can get a bit weird when it’s normal for a 17 year old to have their entire schedule dictated by their parents, not be allowed online unsupervised, not be allowed friends that the parents don’t specifically approve…but then you’re supposed to start being an adult at 18. (Except for college, because you’re effectively not allowed to go unless your parents help.)



Culturally, helicopter parenting is the norm and sometimes that norm is enforced by the state. Even when it isn’t, the peer pressure on parents is immense. Children aren’t given any opportunity to exercise independence. Their every activity is scheduled and supervised by adults. We hear stories of CPS being called on children allowed to walk alone to the park or or even leaving a child in a car for 5 minutes while Mom runs into the store. Some jurisdictions have laws against leaving children home alone until 12 years old or even older. At 10, I was occasionally babysitting other people’s children in their homes.

Is it any wonder that today’s young adults are timid and cautious about independence and adulthood? We have told them their whole lives that they need supervision and that the world is dangerous. They’ve had little opportunity to practice independence and creative problem solving. And then suddenly, when they are 18 or 20, we expect them to have the skills to live and function as autonomous adults. We don’t really give them any transition time.

Additionally, a growing body of evidence shows that, neurologically speaking, those in their late teens and young twenties are not yet fully adult. Prolonged adolescence has a biological basis. This is not to say that an 18 or 20 year-old cannot and should not shoulder more responsibility, but a period of transition in the early twenties is not unreasonable.

Also, the idea of moving out of the house and completely supporting yourself is very cultural. In many cultures, children are expected to live with their parents until they marry , at whatever age that might be .

Ideally, young adults living at home would be working and contributing to the household financially or otherwise, benefiting everyone, or putting money away for their own future.


[quote=“Pattylt, post:29, topic:530613, full:true”]

In my area, Community Colleges offer some excellent vocational programs at very low cost.


After I wrote that comment, I looked into the local community college in my town and it does too! It offers certification in several of them which is great. What’s still missing is the high school path to these careers. Our local high schools are divided by STEM, Humanities and general education emphasizing college bound. All assume further education in college, not necessarily tech schools.

Oh well, it’s a start…or return!


Of course, there also comes a time when roles are reversed, and the ‘kids’ must become responsible for helping out aging parents. But I’ve seen some families in which the kids are in their 30’s and still dependent while the parents are entering their 70’s and becoming more in need of help themselves.


Maybe it’s because I’m in a metropolitan area, but my daughter’s HS has a tech school associated with it. I believe it’s shared by a few districts in our area. They teach welding, general contracting, etc. So, some schools do still have this avenue.


That may not be just generational though. Comparing economic data, real entry level wages are lower and cost of living is higher than it was when our parents were in their 20’s. Add in high levels of student loan debt and it’s no surprise that younger people are living at home longer.


I bet your right…bigger cities probably do offer more opportunities like this. What’s sad is that it’s often the smaller towns that need it more due to limited jobs and such. I have hope though. It seems more “powers that be” are realizing that if they want to keep their youth from fleeing the area, they need to provide training in areas that will keep them in the region!


They are in my area as well. And to be clear, I’m studying engineering so I have no personal dog in this fight. I should be fine. But I still think that my peers are looked down upon for not choosing college over those programs. That’s the problem.


Thst is how I am. It actually makes a lot of sense to me. It can actually be a very deliberate and thoughtful way to live life.


My colleague had a son going off to welding tech school in the fall. She had trouble reconciling this until seeing how much her kiddo loves the HS classes he has been taking at the tech school. She’s concerned about him making a living and I was able to use my nephew who is a welder as an example that they can really make good incomes, certainly can support families.

People like Mike Rowe and other blue collar workers are doing some iimportant work in getting exposure to the trades out there. There is a shortage in all trades because GEN X seemed to go for college only (generalizing I know), now there’s a gap. We need people to unclog our drains, tune up our cars, and build our houses. These have always been good jobs with good pay, and it’s a shame that people spurned them for so long.


I don’t think the situation is as bad as it seems with regards to Gen X and Millennials eschewing the skilled trades.

I have had to call plumbers and electricians to my home and some were Gen X and some were Millennials. They did good work.


This is good to hear. It seems that every plumber or repairman that ever came to my house was an older guy. Good at what they did but not young. I’m glad that more young people are getting into the business. However, Mike Rowe still is pushing for more.


I went to a Satellite Campus of a well-known University. My 2 year Associates Degree cost about 10K and I didn’t even need to take out loans. My current employer picked me up before graduation and now I’m saving money and building credit :blush:


Yeah it’s pretty sad…I’m rather cynical about the whole massage industry anymore. I think we get taken advantage of by both employers and clients…it’s hard to stand up for yourself in either situation. All of this contributes to the high burnout rate.


One more short clip of Mike Rowe testimony:


We have all heard about teaching a man to fish vs just giving the fish.

I have never heard someone request to forgo the teaching to fish in favor of just the fish.


From what I’ve heard of my generation, the feeling is more like “teaching someone to fish, but only allowing them to fish in heavily overfished waters because you need 5 years experience to fish in other places, and then calling them lazy for not having enough fish.”

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