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Failure to launch camp

On the eve of next week’s Extended Adolescence Symposium, this story caught our attention:

They are the modern-day lost boys, who suffer from “failure to launch,” a term made popular by a movie of the same name. While at least one critic deemed that film “completely unbelievable” at the time, five years later real life is imitating fiction.

Federal statistics show that young men are, for instance, nearly twice as likely to live at home with their parents than young women their age. They’re also less likely to finish college, or to have a job. The struggling economy has only made things worse.

“We see more failure to launch because there’s less to launch into,” says Joshua Coleman, a psychologist who is the co-chairman of the Council on Contemporary Families, a nonprofit organization that tracks trends in American families.

Read the rest

Did you catch the subtlety of Coleman’s statement? There’s less to launch into. As if adulthood had less to offer today’s 18 year old than say… 40 years ago. (When turning 18 meant receiving a draft card– perhaps eliminating the possibility for such a thing as failure to launch?)

Is it that adulthood really offers less to launch into or is it that we have changed expectations for our young men.

A couple weeks ago we went on a men’s retreat with our high school ministry. In the last session the leaders were asked to share some advice for the guys in our small group. My advice? Sell your toys and start acting your age. Take your XBox to Gamestop and cash it in for some cash. Then tell your parents you’d like to figure out how to move towards financial independence. 

I wonder if we are seeing failure to launch or if we are seeing parents unwilling to launch?

What do you think? And how can youth workers prepare our young men to launch?

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