“Our kids simply don’t know what an adult is anymore — or how to become one. Perhaps more problematic, the older generations have forgotten that we need to plan to teach them.
It’s our fault more than it is theirs.” Sasse sprinkles the book with occasional disclaimers that however much he may be criticizing, if not lambasting, millennials, his true wrath is reserved for the parents rather than their slothful progeny. Sasse offers occasional stories from his tenure as president of Midland University in Fremont, Neb., and seems eager to point out that the millennial generation has a reputation for being “needy, undisciplined, coddled, presumptuous.” After two decades of having their lives micromanaged and choreographed for “playdates, dance practices, extra tutoring for standardized tests and college entrance exams, music lessons, martial arts, select soccer and travel baseball, track meets, swim meets, art classes, language enrichment and all the rest, it should come as no surprise that the kids have only the vaguest idea of how to make decisions for themselves.
Their return on American Prairie Reserve has restored both the land and a glimpse of the past.
In his new book, “The Vanishing American Adult,” the Republican senator from Nebraska makes it clear that he has had enough of our nonsense and we had all better shape up.
) help control populations of small rodents and rabbits.
NATIVE PLANTS create the foundation of the prairie.
While the book ignores that demographic, Sasse’s overarching point is a good one.
“They [teenagers] need direction about how to acquire the habits essential for navigating adulthood and experiences that introduce and instill those habits.” We need young people who read, and read well; who are grounded in civics and history; who understand hard work and engage in it; who are self-reliant; who are not captive to rampant consumerism; and who are influenced by people other than, and far older than, their peers.
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Consuming less, knowing the difference between needs and wants, and reducing reliance on the Internet and anything with glowing screens are all important lessons not just to impart to the young, but for adults to model.
Chapter 8 contains suggestions for what should constitute a basic list of 60 “life-changing” books to have at home.
Sasse rips into an increasingly hedonistic, shallow and pleasure-seeking American culture that is producing a generation of ignorant, passive young adults who don’t read, have no grasp of American civics, don’t embrace work and don’t know how to do much of anything because their meek helicopter parents have both applauded and waited on the little darlings for far too long, to their detriment and to the peril of our shared future.