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Extended Childhood Dangers
Speaker 1: Welcome to the Effortless English show, with the world’s number one English teacher A.J. Hoge. Where A.J. has more than 40,000,000 finally learn English once and for all.
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We have a problem. Let me describe the problem to you with a story from my own life.
You know, for much of my youth. I’m talking about when I was a teenager in my 20s, even somewhat in my early 30s. I never felt inside, I never felt like a man. I always felt like I was still a boy. Even though I was let’s say 25 years old. 26 years old. I would still feel like I was a boy. Like not completely a man yet. Not completely an adult. I realized this was quite strange in a way, that there was something strange about it, because my own father, he was a dad, he was a father. He was the leader of a family at age 22. 22, 23. I thought of my own dad and I thought of his life at my age, let’s say, when I was 30.
I still had very little responsibility, still felt like, acted like a boy, where as I thought of my dad at that age as being very much a man, a very responsible man with a career. And a family. When I first started feeling more like a man. It was probably in my late 20s. Up until then, you know, I had been in school, I had been in school so much. I went to of course, high school, until I was 18 years old. Then I immediately went to university for my undergraduate degree. That was until I was 23 actually. Because I had a, I took a short break of one semester and I took a long time and took lots of extra classes. I graduated with an undergraduate degree when I was around 23 years old. Then I still, I didn’t know what to do with my life. Here I was 23 years old. Same age as my dad. My dad at that age was working a full time job, he had me, a baby at that time. He was married.
Me, I was just getting out of school and kinda no idea what to do. No clue about what to do about my life, no direction. Couldn’t make any decisions. Eventually I just got a few different part time jobs. I was a security guard for example. Not making much money.
You know, I was quite free and I guess that was good and I was thinking about my life and that’s when I really started to do a lot of extra reading on my own. Not just for fun, like, when I was younger, I was reading books like lord of the rings, but then I started reading things like Tony Robbins and other things like that after I graduated. It was a really hard time in my life. I was actually quite depressed. Because it was a huge shock to me. A huge shock because my whole life I had been a student in school right? Passive.
My whole life since age what? Five or six, something like that. I had been in schools and you know, just go to class and then the teachers would tell me what to do. You must read these books, you must write these papers, you have a test coming up next week.
Everything was just, you know, told to me what to do and I just passively followed along.
It’s funny sometimes when people on, I’ve had a couple people on Twitter ask me if I had trouble in school, because I seemed to hate school so much, because it was quite the opposite. I always found school to be very very easy. I had really good grades. Very good grades and it was effortless for me. I didn’t need to make much effort to get good grades. I was kinda bored, but on the other hand, lazy. It made me lazy.
Because okay, I could get these good grades, so I felt like, it looked like, oh, I’m achieving something. Look, I’m successful, I’m being a good boy, I’m getting good grades. I got my degree. And I didn’t have to really do much actively, I just passively did what I was told.
When I got out of school suddenly everything changed. Suddenly no one was there to tell me what to do. What should I do with my life? I had no idea. Then of course I had massive pressure. School was over. I had to make some money. I had to pay for rent, I had to feed myself. So I got out there, I got jobs that I really hated, I didn’t like the jobs at all. All those years of school had made me kinda lazy and weak. Didn’t know what to do. I was miserable, I was depressed.
After a couple of years of this, reading a lot and doing a lot of thinking, I finally decided, I made one decision, I decided, well, I want to do something helping people. Because I realized I was very interested in psychology, coaching. You know, that kind of thing.
Helping people solve problems. Helping people be more effective. I wanted to do that for myself honestly. I wanted to learn those skills for myself, so that I could motivate myself and achieve success in my own life and then I also wanted to help other people. I wanted to make a contribution in other words, I wanted to contribute.
I finally decided to go back to school, get a master’s degree in social work. Because you know, social work is one of the professions where, supposedly, you’re helping people and making a contribution. I went back to school again after just two years out on my own. Miserable years. Once again, back in school again. This time grad school. Two more years of school. When I finally graduated with a master’s degree in social work, I was 27 years old. Pretty much the whole time I had still been a student. And so I think that’s one of the main reasons I still felt like a boy. I hadn’t gone out there and done anything.
That’s when my life started to change though.
Because at that point I finally started making some decisions. Finally started being responsible for my own life and I started taking more risks. During my master’s degree in the middle, in the summer, i traveled abroad for the first time. I went to India. I’ve talked about that trip in other shows. I went to India and that changed my life. Because that was a huge experience for me, because as I said, I had been passive, I had basically been acting like a boy. Not being responsible for my life very much, not making decisions, not strong, not confident. But when I went to India by myself for a few months, I had to do everything by myself, I was in this strange place that I didn’t know anything about. Quite honestly it was very stressful sometimes. And very difficult, India was and probably still is a very challenging place to travel alone. With no money, with very little money.
But it was a great experience because I had to finally, I had to plan everything, I had to get around, I had to negotiate with people when I was buying things, I had to deal with thieves, people were trying to steal from me, people were trying to cheat me all the time. I ended up in the hospital for a few days and survived that. All kinds of big challenges. But someone that came back from that, I was like whoa, my whole world changed. First of all, I felt more like an adult finally, because I had gone off and done this myself. Challenged myself and succeeded. But the other thing is that I was also so excited, because I felt like I had learned so much and grown so much. And I wanted it, I wanted more.
After I graduated, immediately after graduating I got a job in Korea, teaching English. My very first job teaching English. Another story I have told before in this show. That also was a very tough challenging experience but again one that really pushed me into finally becoming an adult. I would say, I don’t know, 27, 28 years old. Before I even started to become an adult. That’s a problem. That is just weird. But you know what, strange is, and what’s sad. It’s not just me. It wasn’t just me. Most of my generation were quite similar. I mean, yes, everybody is different, so some people did become much more responsible and make decisions and start accomplishing things and moving forward in their lives, becoming self-reliant and independent much earlier than me.
But the sad part is, other people in my generation, still at my age now, in their late 40s still act like children. I’d say I’m probably average for my generation. It gets worse, because the generation after me, the millennials as they are called, even worse. They’re so childish. They’re so weak. They’re so dependent, they’re so passive. They’re childish.
Each generation is getting weaker and each generation, they remain children for longer and longer. Now in America, at least, in the United States. It’s normal for someone in their mid-20s, until their 30, even in their early 30s, still thinking and very much acting like children.
So why is this happening? It’s not a good thing. Let’s talk about the history of this.
Because this is actually super unnatural. This is a very unnatural situation, but it’s not random. This was designed, this was created. We can call it extended childhood right?
Where people remain children or have a child like mentality longer and longer and longer. Older and older and older and older. This was designed back in around 1900.
About a 120 years ago. I’m just gonna talk about the United States because I know the history in America. Similar things happened in Europe, I believe earlier and all over the world now.
But let’s just look at the United States, how this happened. Before 1900 in the United States, this situation was completely weird, strange, did not happen. If you look into the history of America, before the 1900s, here’s what we find. People became adults around age 14. 14 years old, they were expected to be adults. At the age of 14 most people began to work. Now a lot of people own their own farms, so they would become farmers and maybe helping out their family or they would have their own farm. At age 14. Or they would start their own business at age 14. Most people before 1900 in America, most people were not employees. They were self-employed. So maybe they owned a small business or maybe they owned a little farm. Maybe they went out and they would hunt. That’s how they would, and sell the meat and make money that way.
But they were not working for other people directly, not as employees. They were self-employed.
This was true for both boys and girls, men and women. Women also around age 14, typically would get married and start having children. Maybe having children about a year later. Even this late, we look at, I talked about Louis L’Amour, the writer, he wrote about western cowboys and stuff. He says, he was a, he was writing about his childhood, more back like in the 1920s, so about 20 years after this. Even for him, at age 14 or 15, he left home and he got a job on a ship and they started working from that and the rest of his life he was working.
This whole idea of teenagers and adolescents we call it, did not exist in America before 1900. So what happened? Where did it come from? I’ve just been, I’ve been watching some YouTube videos, reading some books, doing some research about this. It was created and who created it do you think? Well, it was certain families, the super rich, the family. They started in oil and then they also went into banking.
The Carnegie family, Andrew Carnegie. Banking, rail roads. The Vanderbilt. The same families that still own all the big banks now, that are still running the country.
See, these guys decided, they got together, these big industrial families. Because for the first time in America, around 1900, the early 1900s, a few families were super super super rich. Because of the industrial revolution. As they became super rich, they also became super powerful. They decided that American culture needed to change, that society needed to change. That people were too independent, and what they wanted to do is they wanted to create a new economy, where most people would be employees working for them, right? And the Ford, another, the Ford family. Another family, a little bit later, in 1900, but same idea. They wanted people to stop being so independent, self-employed and they wanted to make most people employees. In other words, they wanted people to stop being so independent and to become dependent. To become dependent on them, on their companies.
They wanted to make people, number one, employees, dependent. Number two, consumers. Consumers, so they would buy more and more and more stuff from their companies. They all agreed that this was what they wanted. They wanted that kind of society, that kind of economy. They wrote a lot of books, they hired a lot of experts and psychologists and philosophers and people to figure out how could they do this. Finally, they figured it out. Schools. Forced schooling. They would use schools to extend childhood. They decided that the secret was to train people, train children to remain children longer and longer. To remain weaker, more dependent, more passive. They wanted to train them so then, if they had a more childlike mentality, if they remain children for a longer and longer time, well then they would become employees, then they’re easier to control.
They finally decided the best way to do that was with forced schooling. Because before that, there was also not forced schooling in America. You went to school or not, it was up to your parents. Some people learned at home, lots of people just learned at home, home schooled. Some people they sent them to a little local school, maybe private.
Maybe run by the town or the church or whatever. They went for a few years and then they learned independently after that. Not this bureaucracy, this industrial school system we have now. They created that in the early 1900s. They also decided that they would try to stop people from working. They would force them to wait longer and longer until they were older and older until they could work.
They used the excuse of child labor. Oh, we gotta protect the children from working.
Certainly there were some bad things happening with child workers, that’s certainly true. But these guys also realized, well, if we prevent them for working then they can’t be independent. Then they’ll be 16 years old, 17 years old but still dependent. Still thinking and acting like children. Then they started pushing for more and more and more and more people to go to college. To make college kind of dumber, more stupid, more easy. So that again, the kids, the people would remain students, would remain as children into their 20s now. Until they were 22 or 23 years old.
It worked, they did it. They did it. You can do the research yourself, you can find out about the early history of schools. And forced schooling and education and industrial education and all of that. Back in the 1900s. Early 1900s, it’s all there to read. They wrote openly about what they were doing. And they succeeded. Now we see it more and more and more. Now of course more recently, especially back I’d say in the 1950s, the 1960s, the next strategy, they created what’s called a youth culture. A teenage culture, right? Where teenagers have a different kind of music, a different kind of culture. Different kind of TV shows, different kinds of movies, just for them.
Again, designed to keep them thinking like children, instead of being full adults at age 15. Most 15 year olds now, everywhere in the world still act like kids. They still act like kids, they don’t make their own decisions, they’re kind of weak, they still ask their parents for everything, they’re passive. They read a lot of childish stuff, they act very childish. I understand, I did too. I didn’t realize that at the time I was being trained. Now I understand. This is created by the way, this is what has created the generation gap.
Again, this is something more recent. There was no generation gap back in the early 1900s and before.
Generation gap means like, a gap is like a space. It’s like a separation between generations. See now we think it’s normal. We think it’s normal that a 15 year old kid, see, we call him a kid. We think of them as children. 16 year old kid. We think it’s normal that they will rebel against their parents. That they might have a bad relationship with their parents. We think it’s normal that a 15 or 16 year old person has trouble socializing with people who are older. People who are maybe 25 or 35 or 45. They’re not very good at talking to them, they don’t know how to act around mature adults. They’re not able to make great decisions and act responsibly. We think that’s normal, it’s not normal. We also think it’s normal that each generation will like completely different music and have a completely different culture, and they’ll think the old people are stupid and foolish.
They’ll act rude toward the old people. Again, that’s not normal. That started again, that was started. It started in the early 1900s, it became very strong in the 1950s and 60s in the United States. It’s happening everywhere in the world now. I see it happening in Thailand, sadly. Even more recently. When I first went to Thailand, the children were very respectful of their parents and people who were older. There wasn’t, I didn’t get the feeling there was a big generation gap. Now I get the feeling there’s much more that the younger people, the teenagers are carrying around cellphones all the time and they have their own little culture and their own stupid music and all that stuff and now there has become this separation.
Why do they want a generation gap? People who are the big bosses? Again, because kids are easy to, younger people are easier to control. Especially if they still remain children for a long time. If they still think like children when they’re 20. They’re easier to control, it’s easier to lie to them, it’s easier to get them to believe stupid crazy things that you want them to believe. If they still think like children, if they’re not acting and thinking like adults. It’s also easier to control young people if you separate them from their older generations. If you create a break between their parents’ generation and them, well then they can’t learn from their parents. They stop learning from their parents. They don’t get the wisdom of experience. The parents have more years on earth. They’re wiser, they’re smarter. The grandparents even more.
If you create a separation, now the kids think oh, I’m cool, I don’t have to listen, grandpa is stupid, dad, mom are crazy, they’re just old. If you create that attitude so that someone who’s 20 or 18 or 16 thinks like that, then where do they get their information? Instead of from the parents, instead of getting it from the grandparents or the parents or their uncles and aunts, they get it from the media. The media and the schools. They grow up thinking socialism is a great idea and free speech is bad and all the stuff we’re starting to see now in America. It’s terrible. And they just remain weak.
Weak, weak, weak and dependent.
I say we go back, I think it’s time that we go back, that we undo this and that we start treating people as full adults and training them to be full adults and expecting people to be full adults around the age of 14. I think that is the natural thing. I think that is the natural way that we have had as human beings for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. It was a bad idea to change it. It was a bad idea to follow the …and the Carnegies and the Vanderbilts and all these other, and the Rothschild and the rest. Very bad idea.
Here’s my advice. For young people out there. You, young people who listen to me.
You’re probably teenagers. I think most younger people who listen to me are in their early 20s or maybe their teenage years, 15, 16, 17, 18, something like that. Here’s my advice to you. Stop being a child, stop thinking like a child, stop acting like a child. Grow up, be an adult. Start making decisions. How do you become an adult? You become an adult by making decisions, taking actions and being responsible, accepting what happens. You learn from it and then you make another decision. You act, you become independent, you become the boss of your own life.
Now some of you are gonna complain, I can’t, my parents won’t let me, it’s not about your parents letting you. You don’t need anyone to let you, you don’t need permission to do this, you just do it. That’s what adults do, adults don’t wait for permission, they just do it. Stop complaining that oh, you don’t like school and oh, I don’t want to study that. So fine, go learn other things. Do it. Become an active learner. Make the decisions,take action. That’s how you become an adult. Don’t wait for your parent’s permission, don’t ask them, don’t argue with them. Oh, I want to be an adult, oh, you don’t let me do anything. Just do it, show them. Show them through action that you are an active learner. That you are learning and becoming successful through your own actions and decisions that you are responsible.
That you’re taking more and more responsibility, that you are independent. That you’re a decision maker. Start a business, get a part time job, stop living off your parents. Make some money yourself, you can do it, you can do it at age 14, you can do it at age 15, 16.
You can start something online, you could do some little small thing locally, where you’re selling stuff to people. There’s many many many things you could do, so just do it. See and when you do that, when you start, here’s the thing. So many teenagers, they complain, sometimes on Twitter people complain, oh, my parents, they won’t let me do this. You know what, it’s not about arguing. You convince your parents by showing them. You become an adult when you just say, I’m an adult and you make decisions and you take responsibility for your actions.
You take action. You’re independent, you’re your own boss and you just do it. You act like it, you do it. You show people. When you do that, everyone will start respecting you and they will treat you like an adult. If you complain and whine and, then you’re still acting like a child, everyone will treat you like a child. Older people out there, especially parents, we also have a job. Our job is to stop treating our children like they are children forever. I know, it’s hard, you want them to be little babies forever, I know. I know it’s scary, but you know what, when they reach around age 14 or 15, as a parent, you need to start treating them like an adult.
How do you do that? You just expect them to be responsible. You expect them to be self-reliant and independent. You expect them to start making money somehow. Say, look, you can get a part time job or start some little business. But you need to start taking care of yourself now. You expect them to be independent learners. Not just go to school and do what they’re told. You expect them to start making decisions, figuring out what they want to do. Don’t wait until they’re 22 or 18 or 19. They should start making these decisions early. They should be reading lots of books independently, outside of school.
You should be encouraging them to do things at home. They should be like a full adult, responsible member of your house. It means they should create some of the meals. One or two times a week, they should cook a meal for the whole family. They should be doing their own laundry, cleaning their own part of the house. They should be, you know, an equal member. They should be learning financial literacy, they should be able to handle money, have a checking account. Don’t hold them back. The reason that in America, I think many places in the world, there’s this, we have this thing of rebellion, where teenagers rebel. Teenagers have a bad attitude and they’re always fighting and arguing.
Well, you know what, I think the reason is that inside they know, inside they know something is wrong. Inside they know that they should be adults by now. But everyone around them is trying to keep them children. They themselves are afraid to become adults and just to do it. They’re not quite sure how to do it and no one is around to help them or guide them. Everyone is trying to hold them back. Wait until you’re 20, wait until you graduate from college, then you’ll be an adult. They’re ready already, they’re ready at 14 or 15.
Parents, you need to have this mentality with your kids. Hey, age 14 or 15, man, come on, Louis L’Amour, age 15, he’s on a ship working with a bunch of tough old sailors, sailing all around the world. Doing hard physical work. He was also a boxer, an amateur boxer. This guy, he’s only 15. There’s so many stories of 14 year olds, 15 year olds. From the past, if you go back about a 100 years, these are common stories. Let’s just stop this whole thing, this whole extended childhood, extended adolescence. Because our kids, you if you’re young, or if you’re a parent, your kids will have such richer lives, so much more success, so much more happiness, so much more strength, so much more confidence in life, if they just start when they’re 14 instead of wasting 10 more years acting like children.
Okay, it’s Twitter time. Twitter time. Twitter questions, twitter.com. My account is AJHoge on Twitter. Okay, this is a question from powerful amir again. “When I read an article about history, for example. I have a basic idea, I have some idea about the story.
But I’m not clear completely about it. Maybe I understand 40 or 50% of it. What should I do? Same with the biographies.” Okay, so if you only understand 40 or 50% percent of the vocab, that means it’s probably too difficult. Now you can maybe read a couple pages like that each day, you’ll learn a lot of vocab probably. But it’s not very enjoyable and there’s a better way. Which is to read easier things. Just wait, put aside the difficult biography, the difficult history book.
Find something easier. What would be easier? Well, there’s a few things I can recommend. Number one, there are a lot of great books written for young people.
Either children or youth. Like around the ages of 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. Lots and lots and lots and lots of books in English, for that age group. There are some very interesting books still. Books about history, either historical fact or stories, like historical fiction. But both very very interesting. There are biographies. Written for that age group. You can probably even find some things about philosophy, certainly science. So you can find the same topics but written for kids, younger people. They’ll be easier, so read those. Read a lot of those, your vocabulary will get better and better. Then eventually you’ll be ready for the difficult books.
Another thing you can do for like, especially this is good for classic literature. You know, like classic, really classic books. Read graded readers. They’re called graded readers.
Graded readers are easier versions of classic books. For example they might take a book, Dr. Jekyll Mister High, that’s a famous short story. Maybe the original story is a bit difficult for you. You can find a graded reader. It’s an easier version of that same story.
Dr. Jekyll Mister High, it is the same story but they used easier vocab. The company, the publisher, Penguin, they make a lot of these. There are other companies that also do it, but I know Penguin does a lot of graded readers. You can do a search on Amazon.com, Kobo.com for graded readers.
Read those classic books but reading the easier versions. The graded reader version.
Again, that will help you increase and improve your vocabulary until you’re ready for the original, the more difficult version. The original version. All right, let’s go for one more Twitter question, what do we got here? Okay, this is just a vocab question. “I want to know when can I use the word need and want. Do they mean the same thing? Need and want.” They do not mean the same thing. They mean different. Want means desire. I want a cookie. It’s just an emotion that you feel. A desire for the cookie. Oh, it sounds good, it would taste good, I want it. You don’t need it though. Need is the idea that it’s necessary. It’s necessary. That you must have it for some reason. If you are starving to death, you don’t eat for two weeks. Well then maybe you need the cookie. You need it or you need food. It’s what you really need, food.
You need it. If you don’t get it you will die. That’s need. Right, it’s necessary. If you want something, it’s not necessary, it’s just an emotion, you desire it, but it’s not necessary, it’s optional. That’s the difference between those two words and how you use them.
Okay, I hope you enjoyed today’s show. Let’s all grow up, let’s help our children grow up faster and be strong adults earlier in their life. Or lives. Become an advanced English speaker. Join my VIP program at effortlessenglishclub.com. Have a great day, see you next time.
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