Reviewed by Daniel S. Mulhall
Catholic News Service
Human development is an interesting field of study. Over the last 100 years a variety of social sciences have explored what are developmentally appropriate tasks for each stage of life. A great deal of study has gone into trying to understand the development that takes place during adolescence, the period that runs roughly through the teen years but may begin earlier and often continues into the early 20s.
From Teens to Twenties: Lessons Every Young Adult Should Learn also addresses these adolescent years but from a religious development perspective.
The book offers 28 lessons that the author, Alexander J. Basile, feels that teens should learn. Basile chairs the religion department at Kellenberg Memorial High School in Uniondale, New York. The lessons would generally be considered standard fare for adolescent development, such as Lesson 21, "Unplug and listen for the silence," or Lesson 25, "Money never guarantees anything."
The ideas presented are reasonable and of substance, and generally would be valuable information for teens to learn. The concern is that the lessons are offered as advice. The rule of thumb when working with adolescents is to help them to discover the truths of life (and faith) for themselves with the guidance of the faith community.
To be clear, this does not mean that teens determine what is true for them, but that they discover the truth held by their faith communities. While the tone of the writing is not preachy, it certainly does a lot of telling teens what they should know, do and understand. While the intended audience for the book is clearly teens themselves, adults who work with teens might be the more likely readers.
Youth leaders and parents of teens are encouraged to read this book themselves to see if it is worth passing on to their young people. You are the ones who know and understand their needs and what they will find of interest.
Mulhall is a catechist. He lives in Laurel, Maryland.