In college student development circles, the term “PAPA” (Post Adolescent/Pre-Adult) is applied to those students who seem to postpone adulthood for whatever reason. Chronological age is not the determining criterion that designates these students from their cohort-group, but rather their unwillingness to take responsibility for their own lives and decisions. The sad thing is that some students do not know HOW to make decisions or HOW to be responsible like an adult – they have not been taught in the home or schools. This is a different kind of person than those who simply refuse responsibility. The following news blurb from Netscape presents some interesting ideas and findings.
From Netscape News:
Only 31% of Men Achieve This By Age 30
The true measure of adulthood is not 18 or 21. The true measure of adulthood is reaching these benchmarks: leaving home, finishing school, getting married, having a child, and being financially independent. By that standard only 31 percent of men and 46 percent of women have reached adulthood by age 30, reports The Washington Post of a study from the University of Pennsylvania. In 1960, fully 65 percent of men and 77 percent of women had achieved these accomplishments by age 30.
Why the incredible delay for young people today? One simple reason. (And it’s not because the kids are slackers or their parents coddle them far too long.) “The primary reason for a prolonged early adulthood is that it now takes much longer to secure a full-time job that pays enough to support a family,” lead researcher Frank J. Furstenberg Jr. writes in Contexts, a journal of the American Sociological Association. Baby boomers and their parents had much greater access to well-paying jobs with good benefits than do today’s twentysomethings. In addition, the oldsters enjoyed more government assistance for higher education and affordable housing.

How then does this affect the Church and the Church’s desire to incorporate younger people into the life and decision making processes of the Church, whether in the local parish or higher levels within the denomination?