Sunday, April 25, 2010

Important Quotes from "After the Baby Boomers"

Quotes from After the Baby Boomers: How Twenty- and Thirty-Somethings Are Shaping the Future of American Religion by Robert Wuthnow (Princeton: Princeton UP: 2007)

“It is important to note, though, that even among young adults the ones who have actually earned a college or graduate degree are still in a small minority. Only about a quarter have done so. This is an important fact to remember. Because research about young adults is often based on studies of college students—and produced by faculty in academic settings for readers with advanced education—it is easy to forget that the experiences and opportunities open to college graduates are not part of the typical young adult’s life world.” (page 37).

“The reality is that even for young adults—the busiest, best educated, and most cosmopolitan segment of our society—religion is potentially important. It engages as many as a quarter of them quite extensively in their congregations, and another half of the young adult population is at least somewhat inclined to participate in religion. For good or ill, that is the reality. The role of scholarship is to understand how this involvement in religion fits into our society—and thereby to encourage reflection about what its future should be.” (page 231).

“Finally, I want to reiterate what I said earlier about young adulthood lacking the institutional support it needs and deserves. We cannot hope to be a strong society if we invest resources in young people until they are eighteen or twenty and then turn them out to find their way entirely on their own.” (page 232)

“To repeat my central argument: We provide day care centers, schools, welfare programs, family counseling, colleges, job training programs, and even detention centers as a kind of institutional surround-sound until young adults reach age 21, and then we provide nothing. Schooling stops for the vast majority, parents provide some financial assistance and babysitting but largely keep their distance, and even the best congregation-based youth groups or campus ministries no longer apply. Yet nearly all the major decisions a person has to make about marriage, child rearing, and work happen after these support systems have ceased to function. This is not a good way to run a society.” (page 216).

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