He cites numerous news reports where young people drink to excess and or taking illegal substances as in a coming of age scenario, and are then horrified at the destruction they cause. They never grew up with responsibility.
In the popular television series 'Pride and Prejudice' from the book written by Jane Austen, the viewer becomes part of the dramas involved in the participation of 'being introduced' to society in a past era that many find romantic, in a nostalgic way.
The author was simply revealing the norm of her society where official courting was the only acceptable 'dating' ritual that was permitted at that time. Therefore, the 'coming out' festivities were occasions of great significance, indicating that a young lady was ready to be courted by available young men.
Similarly, through history and across all cultures, we read of similar methods whereby society had developed rituals to acknowledge young peoples' rites of passage into the adult world.
'Growing up' was supposed to be a part of the responsibility young people of that era and in that social situation, but even in Pride and Prejudice we see one of the Bennett daughters eloping into irresponsibility. Again we are presented with the scenarios of 'coming of age' and 'growing up'.
In many rural centres today throughout Australia this is re-enancted every year in community 'DÃ©butante Ball' where the young people are formally introduced to society. In his own family, his two eldest daughters participated in the Moruya 'DÃ©butante Ball' and no stone was unturned to find the 'right' dress.
For the most part however, the Year 12 Formal seems to have taken over this social role, where the nation's students who have completed their high school years and after their final external examinations, say their farewells to one era of their lives and contemplate their futures.
"All four of our children have treated their Year 12 Formal as their swan song from what had been, while simultaneously wondering to what was to come. Of course, such a momentous occasion needs an outfit to match its importance; either the most beautiful of dresses or the smartest of tuxes," M V Tronson mused.
What does this 'coming of age' and 'growing up' mean, in these modern times, for young Australians leaving high school and entering a new dimension of life for themselves and their families? Mark Tronson suggests the following three issues:
First, Year 12 coincides in the most part with their 18th year and in Australia eighteen is the legal age for voting and becoming an adult in the eyes of the law. In other words, there is sense in which these young people go from being 'cared for' to becoming responsible for themselves. They may also drive a car; which enhances their sense of independence as well as responsibility.
Second, the idea of leaving school leads to a liberation of person and identity in which young people begin to establish who they are within the framework of a wider group of peers from very different backgrounds and experiences. In other words, they begin to develop their own person hood and exploring the demands of maturity.
Third, these young people begin to re-evaluate the presuppositions upon which their parents raised them and this leads to both philosophical questioning of society and and their own private inner beliefs. In other words they begin to reflect and this can also lead to a spiritual quest.
"Having raised four children to this situation as well as, ministering to young elite athletes who are themselves travelling through this 'coming of age' process, I am confident of this nation's future," M V Tronson noted.
Moreover M V Tronson says, any of the numerous churches where the young people are involved, there is an liveliness, and a sense of 'being alive' in the congregation. and the same confidence abounds. "In this sense, this generation is no different to my generation, nor of Jane Austen's generation," he noted optimistically.
The responsibility of parents to ensure that their young people both 'come of age' and 'grow up' is as vital today as it always has been.
The Biblical example of Eli is without parallel in that his sons 'came of age' but had not 'grown up' and proved to be utterly irresponsible.