Societal Changes within the Rites of Passage: 'Adulting'
By Monique M. Chouraeshkenazi
Scheer, Gavazzi, and Blumenkrantz (n.d.) describe the nature of initiation of rites when transitioning to adulthood as human development into three phases: life course, life span, and life cycle (para. 1). These phases are considered important because each hit a milestone in an adolescent’s progression in terms of emotion, cognitive development, responsibility, and comprehension of life. The authors state the paradigm is predicated on optimistic and negative outcomes that are based on the rites of passage on the journey to adulthood (para. 1). This week’s lesson discusses additional rituals that lead to adulthood: religion, physical, social, education, and economic elements (APUS, 2018).
Looking at examples provided and understanding the world we live in within the twenty-first century, I believe young adults are not better off today—and this is my personal opinion, which I believe I can be supported with plenty of Internet info to substantiate. One, social media is the root of evil at times. I believe social media has provided amazing opportunities for people to connect throughout the world, for businesses to flourish, for information to be provided in real-time, and for the media to get the latest news to the public. On the contrary, it has forced youth to grow up quickly and hide behind reality. Because many young adults have become very lucrative from social media, teenagers have seen this and are following in the same footsteps, which is a not a compliment. There is a lack of accountability for actions that are conducted on the Internet and social media, and with such emphasis on this, I do not feel that our youth are growing up in the traditional manner that is preparing them to be young, productive adults within society. Author Nancy Jo Sales conducted research and found that teenage girls are harassed the most and it is something that will affect them as young adults. She stated, “… I was really troubled by the sexual harassment of teenage girls. It’s something happens online and on a daily basis – sometimes on a hourly basis. And it’s so common, it’s become a regular part of teen culture” (2016, para. 4). The young generation is so dependent on the Internet and social media that I believe it has totally shaped our nation to where everything is based on video, live feed, opinion, and stardom. What happened to traditional career and business practices? I believe Generation X and millennials feel more entitled and everything is based on trends and following celebrities to be successful (again, my personal opinion). Social media and the Internet have become a workplace distraction, which loses the focus on completing missions within an organization (Swain, n.d.). I also believe the Internet and social media provokes violence and ruin lives of young adults before they begin to start them.
I grew up in a devout Christian household. My grandmother was very religious, so my sister and I was in church a minimum of three times a week. Later in life, my grandfather became saved and joined the church. The ideologies of God were fascinating, but I did not like the perception and some of the guidelines or Commandants I believed to be impossible to abide. By the time I became an adult, I did not go to church until my calling to convert to Judaism and I have been going ever since. Though the Christian guidelines did not fully align with my current life, I believe it was responsible for how I am today, especially in the ethical and morality elements of how I make decisions. I believe religion heightens one's conscious in the decision-making process to do what is "right and wrong" and have compassion for others. So being a Christian is something I will never discredit. It is actually the opposite because it shaped who I am today.
As for social progression, I joined the United States Air Force when I was 17 years old. It was three weeks before 9/11 and I was a senior in high school (was on the Delayed Entry Program). Signing up to support and defend the U.S. Constitution is the most important decision a person can do, especially at a young age. I considered myself to be mature for my age, but joining the military was an amazing transition to adulthood, as it is voluntary commitment within the United States. Countries like Israel have a mandatory requirement for teenagers to join the military once they complete secondary school. According to Jack Moore (2017), Israel has a policy of “mandatory military conscription, and those who refuse to enlist risk prison” (para. 3). There are some exemptions such as “psychological, physical, religious, or medical matters” (Moore, 2013, para. 3). I don’t know if this policy assists with transitioning teenagers to adulthood, as it seems as though they don’t have a choice unless there’s extenuating circumstances.
Volunteering to join the U.S. Armed Forces is a considered an honor and if you can make a decision as such, I believe it forces one to grow up quickly (maybe too quickly in some matters). This shows how different cultures (and different nations) display different initiations of adulthood can be. Some individuals can handle it, but it seems to be there’s a bit of immaturity, and as I mentioned, you’re forced to grow up and be responsible. They may be too much responsibility for those and the transition to adulthood may not be as balanced as it should be. Education – like I mentioned before, I will always continue to go to school, no matter how many degrees I have. I do not necessarily believe degrees can transition one to adulthood (my opinion), but there is a sense of maturity, especially those who pursue advanced degrees (i.e. professional, medical, doctoral, etc.) because you have to have a level of discipline to complete the work and graduate. I believe earning a doctoral degree enhanced my writing abilities and expanded my vocabulary, which is something I do not believe would have happened had I not pursued the program. Finally, the economic aspect was a very interesting part to my transition. I purchased my first car when I was car and moved in my first apartment when was 19 years old. Having bills and responsibility at a young age taught me accountability and prepared for where I am now.
Transitioning to adulthood is not the easiest and some of us may even believe that we are still not “adulting” because of unaccomplished goals or specific events that have not happened in life they maybe should have (i.e. purchasing a home or car, having a family, having a career, etc.). I did not buy my first car until I was 19 years old and not purchase my first house until I was 31. I did not feel more or less of an adult or more or less mature based on late "adulting" event. I had other goals and moving around so much in the military, I did not believe it was the best option to purchase-- logistically, logically, or financially. At any rate, some people believe these milestones show independence, maturity--being an adult. However, scholar and author, David Henry, was quoted in a magazine article with The Atlantic, referencing this exact statement. He stated, “…if you think of transitioning to ‘adulthood’ as a collection of markers – getting a job, moving away from your parents, getting married, and having kids – for most of history, with the exception of the 1950s and 60s, people did not become adults any of kind of predictable way” (Beck, 2016, para. 5). He made a great point that these accomplishments do not make anyone less of an adult, but it is the inundated stigma that says it is the mandate for adulthood. And once these “markers” are not accomplished, no one is considered an adult, which is not fair (Beck, 2016). As a result, young adults believe they are still kids playing grown up.
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Moore, J. (2013). Israeli teens refuse to serve in military, take part in occupation. Newsweek. Retrieved from http://www.newsweek.com/israeli-teens-refuse-serve-military-take-part-occupation-west-bank-761277 (accessed on 14 March 2018).
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