The Vanishing American Adult

Peter Pan

I’ve really been enjoying The Vanishing American Adult book.  I do admit that it can be a bit depressing/discouraging.  But, it is also giving me some good parenting ideas and a sense of urgency to make sure that we are preparing our boys for manhood/adulthood and not a perpetual adolescence.

Today I read chapter eight called, “Build a Bookshelf”.  Here are some good excerpts:

  • “Critical, engaged reading skills are not a luxury, but rather a necessity for responsible adults and responsible citizens.  America’s future depends on the kind of thinking that reading presupposes and nourishes – and such thinking demands a rebirth of reading.”
  • “Becoming truly literate is a choice.  Reading done well is not a passive activity like sitting in front of a screen.  It requires a degree of attention, engagement, and active questioning of which most of our children currently have a deficit.  Our culture’s ever-present distractions – the obsessive appeals to immediacy…conspire to blunt our curiosity and distract us from sustained thought.”
  • Jefferson wrote to Adams, “I cannot live without books.”
  • “Bloom similarly concluded that the ‘failure to read good books…both enfeebles the vision and strengthens our most fatal tendency – the belief that the here and now is all there is.’ Nonetheless, he resigned himself to a mere reclamation effort, believing that the larger quest for a common culture was doomed.
  • “A national canon of shared great works – focusing first on what unites us as Americans rather than what divides us – could help us recover a sense of shared meaning and shared purpose today.”

It’s important to get our kids engaged in reading by helping them to find books that they are interested in.  It’s also important to expose them to the great works of Western literature.  I find that this is the challenging part as the boys get older.  I want to be careful not to “assign” too much reading.

What if all of our kids took half or a third of the time they spend on their devices and used that to read?  I think that this would revolutionize their lives and our society.

This chapter has been an encouragement to me to continue to pursue good reading and model that for my boys.  Also, it helped to awaken my desire to talk about what I am reading with others.  Finally, it motivated me to plan to talk to my wife about making more of a plan to have the boys read good books.

One thought on “The Vanishing American Adult

  1. Cari December 3, 2017 / 6:54 pm

    Sounds like an intriguing book! Also, couldn’t agree more with the importance of continuing to engage our kids with thought-provoking as well as imaginative reads as they get older. You and Krista have done such a great job with this for so many years; I have no doubt you’ll keep finding ways to connect in this realm as time moves on.


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