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The “Twixters”

Al Mohler’s column for today is entitled “The Generation That Won’t Grow Up” and deals with what TIME Magazine, in their latest issue, is calling the “twixers.” He quotes Lev Grossman, the author of the article, as saying, “In the past, people moved from childhood to adolescence and from adolescence to adulthood, but today there is a new, intermediate phase along the way. The years from 18 until 25 and even beyond have become a distinct and separate life stage, a strange transitional never-never land between adolescence and adulthood in which people stall for a few extra years, putting off the iron cage of adult responsibility that constantly threatens to crash down on them. They’re betwixt and between.” “Twixters,” then, refers to those people betwixt and between being teenagers and adults.

This is a phenomenon I have long been aware of, but had never formulated quite so thoroughly. Mohler has been aware of this for several years too. He writes, “For several years, I have been warning audiences that America now faces a generation of young people unwilling to grow up, assume adult responsibility, marry, and start raising families.” When I think of these people, I think of the show Friends which showed five friends who refused to grow up. It was not until the final couple of seasons that they finally began to marry and mature. By that time they were well into their thirties. I am sure they serve as an subconscious inspiration for many.

What is especially interesting are the long-term social consequences of these phenomenon. “Economists are concerned about the financial implications of young adults who return to live with their parents and put off major investments like the purchase of a home until well into their thirties. Social scientists are tracking the effects of delayed marriage and the social dislocation common to this age group. Like most demographic trends, this new pattern of life is not likely to be reversed anytime soon, at least in society at large.”

While TIME deals primarily with the social issues, Mohler writes about the impact on Christianity. “Looking at this from a biblical perspective, the most tragic aspect of this development is the fact that these young people are refusing to enter into the adult experience and adult responsibilities that is their Christian calling. The delay of marriage will exact an undeniable social toll in terms of delayed parenthood, even smaller families, and more self-centered parents. The experiences of marriage and raising children are important parts of learning the adult experience and finding one’s way into the deep responsibilities and incalculable rewards of genuine adulthood…As TIME explains, many of these young people are so busy buying iPods, designer clothes, and new automobiles that they will find the necessary sacrifices of marital life and parenthood to be a rude shock. So long as they are living with parents, or grouping together in “emerging adult” enclaves, they continue to live like teenagers–only with even greater freedoms and privileges.”

You can read Mohler’s article here. As for the TIME article, it does not appear to be online at this point, so if you want to read it you’ll need to buy the magazine!

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