In this last post on Smith and Snell’s book, Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults I want to draw attention to a major, major suggestion.
What do you think we can do about the conclusions below?
The issue pertains to the presence and influence of adults on the faith of emerging adults as they transition from teenage years to adult years.
“Emerging adulthood tends to both raise the stakes on and remove social support for being seriously religious.” That is, “in the name of individual autonomy — informed here by a cultural myth that is sociologically erroneous — the usually most crucial players [parents, adults] in teenagers’ lives disengage from them precisely when they most need conversation partners to help sort through these weighty matters” (284).
“Most adolescents in fact still very badly want want the loving input and engagement of their parents … They simply want that input and engagement on renegotiated grounds that take seriously their growing maturity and desired independence” (284).
Thus, “even as the formation of faith and life play out in the lives of 18- to 23-year-olds, when it comes to religion, parents are in fact hugely important” (285).
This means adults, especially parents, are one of the most important factors in emerging adult faith — and our culture is urging us to “let them go” and they neither want to be let go and need for parental and adult involvement — though, and here’s the kicker — in a new way that respects the adult-ishness of the emerging adult.