I wrote this for the front page article of our homeschool group's newsletter. We have a principle each month that we try build and expand on throughout the month, and in October we'll be talking about liberty (read through the definitions there, it's beautiful).
I read an article yesterday that infuriated me. Essentially, it was talking about how psychologists will have new guidelines stating that adolescence continues up to age 25. The article includes statements like, "The idea that suddenly at 18 you're an adult just doesn't quite ring true. My experience of young people is that they still need quite a considerable amount of support and help beyond that age." The article mentions someone else talking about how 25-30 year olds living at home need to "do their own washing . . . [and] take responsibility for cleaning up their bedroom."
Are you upset yet? Let's compare that with another statement given a year ago.
I'm sure all of you remember President Monson's announcement that the missionary age would change to 18 for young men and 19 for young women. But maybe you don't remember what he said about those that had already served beginning at that age. "Their mission presidents report that they are obedient, faithful, mature, and serve just as competently as do the older missionaries who serve in the same missions. Their faithfulness, obedience, and maturity have caused us to desire the same option of earlier missionary service for all young men, regardless of the country from which they come." Did you catch that? All the great qualities exhibited by those young men made a difference to the rest of the young men in the entire church. Because of them, even more great young men and young women are going out into the world to share that greatness.
Back to the first article. Apparently there are a whole lot of people in the world exhibiting quite the opposite of what those mission presidents were seeing. It doesn't list any specific qualities in that article, but taking the opposite of what President Monson said, I imagine they were disobedient, unfaithful, immature, and incompetent in the things they are asked to serve in. It makes me angry to think of those young men and young women changing the world in that way.
How grateful I am to associate with the kind of youth President Monson was talking about! Rather that allowing people to limit your liberty because of your behavior and choices, continue to be the kind of youth that not only expands your own freedom—to be, to do, to give, to share, to build—but expands freedom for others as well just by being who you are.
Is it coincidence that these are almost exactly a year apart from each other? Adam gave the family home evening lesson tonight on the prophet, and had several scriptures that we read and discussed together. I can't remember them all, but I already had the things above on my mind and the first one we read applied directly to this. I kind of took over the lesson for a bit with a minor bit of ranting, and my testimony of the prophet. It was great using this example and others, like the Proclamation on the Family, where we received direction from our prophet that directly apply to things coming in the future. A wonderful evening of discussion and testimony. (Wow, it sounds tons better when I write that out and don't have video of the actual craziness the evening was).
BBC News Article "Is 25 the new cut-off point for adulthood?" Sept. 23, 2013
"Welcome to Conference," Thomas S. Monson, Oct. 6, 2012