“If the human brain isn’t fully developed until we turn 25 years old or so, why do we have to make so many life-altering choices between the ages of 18-24? College, enlistment, job…Shouldn’t we wait until our frontal lobes are fully formed?”
That was the question my daughter posed to me at 16. She was in AP Biology that semester, and they’d been studying human brain development. But she’s not the only one asking. A number of folks are stating we need to modify our parenting and education to better reflect this later brain development. Choose Your Own Adulthood (CYOA) is an answer to both my daughter and to those who believe we should protect teenagers and even young adults from the responsibility of making choices, until their brains fully develop. Such protection neglects how brains develop in the first place - by making choices.
CYOA is about choices—not necessarily the big ones young adults face (college, job, enlisting, relationships, job), but rather the smaller, everyday decisions that actually make a bigger difference in life. These are not the black & white, right or wrong, kinds of decisions the adolescent brain tends to see. No, the choices in CYOA are more nuanced and more complicated than that.
Pursue more of what you want most, and less of what you want right now, for instance. That’s the first choice we examine, helping the next generation see past the distraction of the moment and toward the rewards of delayed gratification.
Respond more and react less is another choice, helping them to harness the power of pause so they can respond out of their principles instead of reacting out of their anxiety. Produce more, consume less. Create more, critique less.
By highlighting sixteen (16) of these kinds of more/less choices, CYOA provides a format to help tomorrow’ leaders transition their brains from the adolescent thinking of their past into the adult brain they need most for all those big, life-altering decisions ahead.