What its the passage from adolescence to adulthood. Why are the teens in the march so mature, so articulate, so focused and committed….so adult? Why aren’t they playing video games, snorting glue and popping Tide Pods, piercing their nose, getting tattoos, and being rebellious and insolent? Why aren’t they normal?
Adolescence has been extended in our society to last from early teens to, maybe, 40? They is no passage, no knife to cut your away from dependent childhood. Unless you join the military, there is no passage to adult hood given by society unless you create one. yourself with drugs, fast cars, sex, and movies, artificial passages all. They are ferries that don’t dump you out in adulthood but back in perpetual adolescence, Grown men still hang out win the adolescent groups, hunting, drinking, and chasing women, the lure out of the realm of the mother, who is now their wife.
I live in the South, and many men here have arrested development. That’s why they cling to the mythic manhood of the civil war and resisting the Yankee invasion. Arrested manhood is a man who has missed his calling to individuation. Dependent upon his wife/mother, his peers, and the call to adventure by risky sex, he is angry. Something is missing, and he doesn’t know what it is.
The Parkland movement is teens creating their own passage. Death killed their childhood, and suddenly they were adults. Death has that effect. It can make you grow up fast because it makes you aware of what’s real. And so these student behave like adults who are now spanking us for remaining in our arrested adolescence where we bicker in the back seat of life arguing about who’s on whose side of the seat.