I began reading Hurt: Inside the World of Today’s Teenagers by Chap Clark this weekend have been absolutely blown away so far. I decided to blog about what I’m reading as I read it, and after only 15 pages I think I have enough for a dozen posts!
Needless to say, it’s an amazing book. I’m taking it slow so I can soak it all in.
In chapter one, Chap makes the case that the common adult view of adolescents is fundamentally flawed. Most adults see “kids” today as pretty much the same kids they’ve always been, just different on the surface. They’re more selfish, more spoiled, or lazier than ever before, but those surface issues are not the only difference between this generation and previous generations.
In reality, adolescents today are completely different than any other generation before them, and the nature of adolescents in our culture is rapidly changing.
How exactly is adolescence changing?
- Adolescence is an invention of Western culture that did not exist before 1900.
- Prior to 1900, “kids” assumed adult roles in society around age 16.
- Children used to be treated as society’s most valuable treasure.
- The cultural revolution of the 1960′s marked the death of adult-led institutions focus on youth.
- The cultural shifts between 1960 and the late 1990′s left adults scrambling for their own safety, security and rest.
- Society continues to stretch out and lengthen adolescence.
- It is difficult to even find an accepted definition of adolescence. We can’t figure out what we can’t even define.
“No longer was there energy and health available for giving to others. Instead, adults waged a fight for emotional and relational survival, and this in turn spilled over into the developmental longings of adolescents…
“As society in general moved from being a relatively stable and cohesive adult community intent on caring for the needs of the young to a free-for-all of independent and fragmented adults seeking their own survival, individual adolescents found themselves in a deepening hole of systemic rejection.” (p. 33, emphasis mine)
That rejection, Chap argues, has become the foundation for the unique struggles our youth face today.
I’m looking forward to reading more and will keep you posted. If this caught your attention, pick up a copy and join me.