So, it may not be the best prose or the kind of book that makes you want to curl up next to a fire with a cup of coffee, but the latest book by Christian Smith sure is fascinating. It reports on the next phase of the National Study of Youth and Religion (the first phase of the study is detailed in Soul Searching) and is called Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults. It takes the same group of people studied five years earlier as teenagers and follows up with them as emerging adults, 18-23 year olds.
An interesting quote on the prevalence of young adults saying that they have “no regrets”:
Many of these young adults, it seems, are too young to name and own the unalterable disappointments with life that admitting regrets might entail. Instead, the stance of “no regrets” puts a good face on matters that are in fact problematic, frames the difficult past in an encouraging light, and keeps all of life’s energies moving forward in an upbeat and constructive direction. It also helps to protect a sense of personal self–which seems sacred to emerging adults–against threats to the ultimate good of “being yourself” in a world in which the self is central, since actually having regrets implies that the self one has become embodies something that is wrong or undesirable. (41)