Are you living the American Dream in your twenties?

This week in The Adulthood Project we went to The Chicago History Museum to look around in the research library. We found some really great advice columns from Ask Ann which were written in the late 50s. They showed some really great examples of how family life was back then and how that generation grew into their adulthood. Here’s one of her articles:

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I’ve also been reading a book called The Twenty-something American Dream: A Cross-Country Quest for a Generation. This book is a study from 1991-1993 about individuals’ experience in their childhood and adolescence and twenties. One interviewee named Sergeant Shane aged 27 stayed in military to support his family and have job security. His American dream is to have more kids, nice home, pool, cars and education. Cindy, his wife, believes the American dream has become too expensive. The book goes on with many other interviews such as these and what the American Dream meant to people in their twenties.


 

Some articles that I read this week:

How Advertising Targets Our Children: This article discusses a study which followed almost 4,000 students from 7th to 10th grade, addressing their exposure to alcohol advertising on tv and asking about their alcohol use. Food advertising raises other issues as well. According to Dr. Harris, the top four products are fast foods, sugared cereals, sugary drinks and candy. In an information-rich world, we need to know the messages children are receiving, and help them decode and understand what the world is trying to sell them.

The State of the Four-Year-Olds: Obama called for “high-quality preschool” for 4 year olds. In 1971 Congress drove to make quality preschool education available to everyone. The federal government would set standards and provide backup services like meals and medical and dental checkups. Tuition would depend on the family’s ability to pay. The destruction of his bill was one of the earliest victories of the new right. “The federal government should not be in the business of raising America’s children. It was a political and ideological ideal of great importance,” Pat Buchanan stated. Members of Congress started getting hundreds and hundreds — sometimes thousands and thousands — of hysterical letters accusing them of plotting to destroy the American family.The demise of the Comprehensive Child Development Act is an example of why Obama is prepared to go through so much political trauma to pass health care reform, even when many of his own members did not approve.

Help Shy Kids- Don’t Punish Them: Jessica Lahey’s book is about shy children who fear social judgement and how grading shy kids based on class participation is not the way to help them. She gives techniques such as: “Think, Pair, Share”, Waiting before calling on students, using social media in the class room, strategize with the student, and create groups for adolescents who are anxious about public speaking. All of these approaches can help achieve Lahey’s aim of giving shy students the confidence to speak up for themselves. But none of this necessarily means we should grade students based on their class participation, since that effectively penalizes children for their fears.