Vodkapundit, Steve Green is bemoaning -albeit apologetically- Kids Today. And he has company in linked Ed Driscoll‘s blog.

They, drawing off a Times essay on Twixters feel that children are overindulged into staying immature and irresponsible. That societal shifts have created a new and mystic environment.

I say it is the same old dilemmas dressed in new clothes. And my! What a wardrobe of fantasy garments are available.

The challenge for each new generation is to decipher their particular form of cultural lies that they are asked to buy into; but other than that, the themes of finding meaning, purpose, and belonging are quite familiar in the story of man.

It is just that today’s generation has been told that there are no markers to the path, and they are trying like mad to blaze a trail for themselves with marred maps and missing map legends.

So in the laundry list of parental mistakes and society’s shifts, which are the real cause for the pile of work we find before us?

How does that list look? Mostly like questions.

From Time Magazine:

  • Could growing up be harder than it used to be? “kidults” and “boomerang kids”
  • Is it that they don’t want to grow up, or is it that the rest of society won’t let them?
  • ‘Oh, good, you’re smart. Unfortunately your productivity’s s___, so we’re going to have to fire you.'”The era of the four-year college degree is all but over.” [Or as I would put it: theory meets reality]”The resulting [college] debt is a major factor in keeping twixters from moving on and growing up.”
  • “this is a world of overwhelming choice”
  • ‘it’s the way they were raised, by parents who came of age in the 1960s as the first generation determined to follow its bliss, who want their children to change the world the way they did.”
  • ” it’s not that twixters don’t want to become adults. They just can’t afford to.”
  • “they are missing out on some of the social-support networks”
  • twixters are too romantic. In their universe, romance is totally detached from pragmatic concerns and societal pressures
  • “it’s a result of the world not being particularly welcoming when they come into it.”-Marshall Herskovitz

“whatever the cause, twixters are looking for a sense of purpose and importance in their work, something that will add meaning to their lives, and many don’t want to rest until they find it. “-Time

More from the Time article:
“[they] see marriage as a decidedly post-30 milestone.””the spectacle of the previous generation’s mass divorces has something to do with the healthy skepticism shown by the twixters.”

“they try to stay kids as long as they can because they don’t know how to make sense of all this”.-Marshall Herskovitz

“”Most of their needs are taken care of by Mom and Dad, so their income is largely discretionary. [Many twentysomethings] are living at home, but if you look, you’ll see flat-screen TVs in their bedrooms and brand-new cars in the driveway.” -David Morrison”

“They’re pushing people off the rolls, but they’re not necessarily able to transition into supportive services or connections to other systems.” was said about social services help, but could work equally for parenting attitudes. We are happy enough to keep them on the rolls if they provide proof of their infantile state and inabilities, but few want to do the hard work of emotional support and involvement that helps transition from dependence to independence.

And this is one of the solutions given:”Twixters may look as if they have been overindulged, but they could use some judicious support. Apter’s research at Cambridge suggests that the more parents sympathize with their twixter children, the more parents take time to discuss their twixters’ life goals, the more aid and shelter they offer them, the easier the transition becomes.”

Sometimes it looks like “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”. As much as previous generations would like to meritoriously look down their noses, what about the parents feelings of entitlement to “my own life, my own body” , and increasing shifting of personal responsibility and family duty to government social services? What about the previous generations living off largess of social security and government fixit big brother programs? An ever increasing inability to take care of oneself and ones own. A veritable disparagement of family ties and moral obligations which have grown with little protest to produce many of the social ills that take the standard response of “oh, this terrible new generation- spoiled and ungrateful”. And maybe they are, but maybe it is just because we are, and our fathers have been, and perhaps it reached farther back than that in seemingly benign and cultured attitudes.

There needs to be a certain integrity to life, which I mean in more than one of its meanings. The fabric of society has a warp and weft and gains from particular weaves and material properties. We have ignored that to our detriment and much of the skill and the lore is being lost. Our brave new world is not new at all, it is in danger of being less; just simply less.

Parents overindulge their kids? Well, where does that come from? Who are these parents, raising these kids? Forming the society we now are living in?

In a related article a compilation of a survey from PNC financial services we find this intergenerational information:

— A surprising number of people with $10 million or more in investable assets have done nothing to protect their assets. More than one-third (37 percent) of them do not have a will or healthcare proxy; they do not have a trust, despite its importance to privacy and wealth transfer, and they have not named a trustee or administrator for their estate. The excuse cited by 56 percent of all respondents who do not have a will is procrastination. Twelve percent said they did not want to confront their own mortality and 5 percent did not feel they had enough money to justify a will.
— Fewer than half (46 percent) of survey respondents say that they have become happier as they have accumulated more money. Nearly one third (29 percent) of respondents with more than $10 million in investable assets agree that having a lot of money brings more problems than it solves, and 33 percent agree that having enough money is a constant worry in their life.

— Half (49 percent) of survey respondents with children at home worry that their kids will grow up feeling “entitled” and nearly as many (44 percent) believe their children are spoiled. While nine out of 10 respondents with children agree that it is important for children to learn the value of money through hard work, half (50 percent) of these respondents say they do not believe kids today know the true value of a dollar. Only one third (29 percent) of respondents encourage their children to take after school jobs. Seventeen percent of survey respondents have done none of the most common activities to teach their kids about money, hard work or giving.

— More than half (53 percent) of survey respondents feel obligated to share the family’s wealth with charitable causes, but the wealthiest are concerned about the details of their giving. Among people with $10 million or more, one-third (28 percent) said that deciding which financial charity to donate to was one of their top three financial worries.

“Wealthy families are finding that money can bring unexpected challenges along with the obvious rewards, and each generation faces a new set of issues and dynamics,” said Joan Gulley, chief executive officer of PNC Advisors, the wealth management unit of The PNC Financial Services Group. “This survey confirms our experience that affluent individuals need far more than investment advice; they want to manage the impact of money on their personal relationships and establish a legacy of which their family can be proud.”

Those wealthy families are what most of America is trying to emulate, “The American Dream” – the celebrated and feted and those whose lifestyles are so reported that a whole spectrum of magazines are dedicated to them, and TV shows are styled upon their priorities and views.

How about looking at correlative modern myths and outcomes? Return for a moment to the “advice” and guidance I wrote about earlier this year: The Mommy Wars where the idea is “History suggests that financial success is the only way women will finally achieve not just legal equality with men but also power and respect- Ann Marlowe, article”.

Money and things, things and money = success ( and all that word entails)… this viewpoint isn’t exclusive to “Twixters”. This diminishment of relationships and community is not exclusive to them and the perpetuation of the grand money scheme that keeps these Twixters on their carousels and in their “Truman Show” world.

They bought their way into their generations lies and they will have to find their way out, a costly and sometimes harrowing journey. We all have our quests. But I find all this posturing on the behalf of other generations to be, well, a bit disingenuous…. or maybe it is just the short-sightedness of not desiring to move forward themselves. That is often the earmark of those who tsk-tsk the coming generation. But I have other cards to call upon the table.

“There are few road maps in the popular culture and to most twixters, this is the only culture to get twixters where they need to go.” What an indictment of the Church, of Christians, in this culture. That we who claim to have clearly marked roadmaps to purpose and meaning, of value and love, have so little impact that we aren’t even in consideration as an alternative culture to the pop Friends culture.

As my generation would’ve said “Wow, that’s heavy”.

3 thoughts on “Twixters?”

  1. i laughed out loud when i read the times article on “twixters” amusing how we need to find a label, and then try and figure it all out, likes its a new science project or something. i never want to grow up, because its all an illusion of ideals and rules that dont apply to mass majority. what i observe is that most “adults” are living like robots, trying to “survive” and making sure us young folk go thru the exact misery they have …because that is just the “way it is.”
    i disagree. life is what we want it to be, it can be a game of survivor, or it can be a playground.
    there is no “reason” why kids are living differently, its called evolving, understanding, recreating…its not wrong or bad.
    my parents ( i love them both) were not happy being adults, in fact they told me when i was young to “enjoy it why i can…for life only gets harder.” yikes. who said so?
    i challeng the rules, not because i like to rebel, because one size does not fit all. as individuals we get to decide what works for us. if that means having 100 jobs in a year, who really cares? what scares me is that this was a cover story on time magazine, when there is so much more we can talk about, like why are we creating war? i dont know…call my crazy, but writing an article about kids that are paving their own ways seems kinda normal to me. an article on how we can create peace instead of war, now thats an article i would like to see on the cover of time..not bush as “person of the year”.
    jenny ward, play activist

  2. It is kind of hard for me to identify with the label “twixter”. I feel that this label only applies to priviledged kids, and I am not one of them. I am 24 years young and do not know what to do with my life. But if the definition of a “twixter” includes someone that relies on their parents for support, I do not fit into this category. While I do not know what I want to do with my life, I do not depend on my parents for support. My mother is deceased and my father is a dead-beat dad. I am trying to find my place in this world, but it is no vacation.

  3. What I found my interesting was your comment at the end, regarding alternative path markers to meaning outside “pop culture.” My own background lead me to think about the history of philosophy, Sophie’s World if you will, as something that would be so useful to so many if only they had exposure and interest. As the preface to that work reads, “He who cannot draw upon three thousand years is living from hand to mouth.”

    As to your question regarding Christianity, several thoughts. The first is that postmodernism, even when not adopted by a majority of societies members, still shows how religion is no different than other life choices, one line amongst a spectrum. Pascal’s Wager is no longer relevant; it is not enough to wager on God versus not-God, because your Christian God will condemn to hell those who think of god as Allah, or Yahweh, or Goddess, or Tao, or Brahma. Interesting that the major socio-political conflicts of the moment involve a majority of those associated with the only other condemner to Hell in that list.

    A few more reasons why modern Christianity might not be a glowing beacon in the dark: where is Jesus’ message regarding social equality in modern Christianity? Vatican City is literally gilt; the current American president, friend to fundamentalists, is in that position because of the wealth of his family. Which is obvious in the exclusively wealthy interests to which he panders. Are modern Christian movements more likely to advocate social justice or condemn some ‘other’ group as wrong? Have we heard more from Christian sects on ‘giving away everything you own’ and following Jesus, or how homosexuals should not be granted the right to marry?

    For my part, I am technically a Presbyterian deacon. The extent on my support and affiliation with Christian doctrine, however, is a liberal reading of the Gospel of Thomas and not much more. Given that I fit within the ages set as the “Twixters,” it is perhaps a tellingly individual and ‘modern’ take on an ‘old’ label.

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