Jon Kennedy
Jon Kennedy


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Jonal entry 1121 | July 30 2010

This is a unique Jonal, a repurposing of a column that I published in the San Jose newspaper group that I was the executive editor of for seven years. This appeared in June, 1991—I was the single parent of three teenagers at the time—and though it may be a little dated (when did you last see a reference to "Yuppies"?, and the mention of Peter Pan syndrome may have been influenced by coverage of the then-current superstar Michael Jackson), the basic ideas stand up, at least to my thinking.

Waiting for love

I wrote several months ago about differences between today's teenagers and my generation's teen years, observing among other things that we went to movies about adults to find out what being adults would be like. Today's kids don't seem to care what being adults will be like and don't support movies about adults. The aversion to growing up (referred to by some as the Peter Pan syndrome) is evident in many social trends: delaying marriage, the yuppie preoccupation with playing and toys, and more. Not saying it's all bad; who at 45 or 50 wouldn't rather be 27 or 17 and a kid again, or at least enjoy life at a 17 or 27 level of intensity.

Now, some further thoughts dawn in my muddled mind. Though an indirect connection seems apparent on the surface, the most direct reason for the aversion to adulthood is most likely the sexual revolution. Many teenagers experimented with sex before the 1960s, the pill and its backup system, abortion, and the Playboy philosophy, too, but the basic values kids live with (not necessarily live by, but with) have changed. In 1955, no matter how many kids weren't virgins, the consensus was that promiscuous sex was wrong. Even kids who don't rush into sexual intimacy today are conditioned to think that sex as play is, if not entirely moral, at least entirely normal.

Perhaps the greatest disservice the sexual revolution has done to kids is rob them of romance. Sex and love are so divorced in the prevailing value system derived from the movies, TV, and advertising, where heros and heroines jump into bed nowadays without even wondering if love may matter, that love has an entirely new meaning. Love is for engagements and marriage; sex has become another aerobic exercise and a substitute for teddy bears.

The prevailing values of the '50s held that romantic love was the best life had to offer; today, instead of saving themselves for love, the media's stereotypical youth save love as a last resort for the time when real fun has to be put aside lest the biological clocks run out.

What do you think? Do your observations corroborate mine, or am I all wet?

And it seems appropriate to add: are the lifestyles and mores of today's teenagers much changed from those of 1991?

— Webmaster Jon Kennedy




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Today's chuckle

My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, "Grandma, do you know how you and God are alike?" I mentally polished my halo and I said, "No, how are we alike?"

"You're both old," he replied.

Thought for today

Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.

C. S. Lewis (1898 - 1963)

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Jon Kennedy's latest book is The Everything Guide to C.S. Lewis and Narnia, now in stores, from Adams Media, F&W Publications. From May 9, 2007 through July 2, 2008 his blog entries or "Jonals" were articles inspired by readings in Lewis's work that didn't fit into the book. Click here for a list of all articles in the C.S. Lewis Overflow series. The book is available for purchase in support of the Liberty Museum in Nanty Glo and is also available on Amazon.



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