A new book by Diana West, The Death of the Grown-Up documents the cultural trend of perpetual adolescence. Prolonged adolescence is a phenomenon noticed by both those who study human behavior and by any parent or grandparent who was expected to behave responsibly at an early age. The problem now is not that kids grow up later and later, but that they don’t grow up at all.
Not surprisingly, West’s viewpoint is conservative, and so she is praised and criticized by the usual suspects. That our culture is youth infatuated and thus stuck perpetually in an adolescent rejection of authority should be obvious to all, regardless of political persuasion. It should also be needless to point out that such an attitude is immature and bad for society. But of course, that’s the problem. Peter Pan has dug his heels in:
‘Cause growing up is awfuller
Than all the awful things that ever were.
I ask: where have the fathers gone? The inability to come to terms with authority, especially within the Church, is symptomatic of the dysfunctional family. Fathers are often not doing their job, or are not there at all, and the children are angry. That dysfunction has found its way into civil life and into the Church.
Ahem. Might I suggest a little chivalry?