Don’t they grow up quickly?’
We now have confirmation that the opposite is true: that young people are growing up more slowly than ever before. 25 now appears to be the start of adulthood (not 16, or 18, or even 21).
I don’t mean to sound preachy since growing up is such a vital experience that no one should ever feel they’ve completed the journey.
But I do feel some culture shock because of the generation gap. One of these happens when students complain about gaps in the timetable, as if university were only about classes and that learning is a transaction that can be constrained into as few hours as possible.
Perhaps this comes with the marketisation of higher education (‘I’ve paid my fees, just give me a good degree for minimum effort’). But what about the limits of markets? Do markets explain how we make friends and fall in love? Can consumerism explain how we gain jobs and develop careers? Do businesses control ever aspect of our lives and thoughts?
The uncomfortable truth is that learning happens in the gaps (it’s when we learn most about ourselves) and that mistakes are an essential prelude to successful achievement. We need more gaps, not fewer, if we’re to think and invent ourselves out of our prison cells.
Please do mind the gap, we don’t want any accidents here. But if you’re not willing to take a risk and move forward, then you’re not learning and developing.