This week – Week 10 – I asked the same question to my class that I asked Week 01.
What is Emerging Adulthood?
As you can imagine, the answers were much different than they were ten weeks go. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, what kind of professor would I be if there wasn’t some change in students understanding of a subject we spent almost three months studying?
The difference, however, wasn’t merely in what my students wrote. The difference was in the students who wrote the definitions. Together, we just didn’t study Emerging Adults– we got closer to them. By “them” I mean that we took steps toward understanding the research, actual emerging adults, and even their own selves [who self-identify as emerging adults].
The challenge with any definition is that it turns into a way to generalize, characterize, and label the other. Even more specific, academic definitions can still do violence to the once to whom the definition is directed. But to name the other in relation to one’s self is to step toward understanding to see more clearly and feel more compassionately. Our class became advocates and allies of emerging adults… and their “definitions” express this.
Their good thinking doesn’t come quickly or easily. In fact, to think, to feel, to understand takes time and takes patience. Good thoughts take patience. And when they emerge over time, they are powerful and redemptive.