A couple of Jewish guys I know always let it be known that they got fountain pens for their Bah Mitzvah. They didn't remember if the girls had anything at all for their Bat Mitzvah. Today they marvel at the fact that both the guys and gals celebrate like it was their weddings. The cost is almost as much as it used to cost for a wedding. The gifts expected are at the level of what past expensive wedding gifts were.
Confirmation celebrations haven't quite reached that level but are getting there and so are the gifts. What is reaching the level of ridiculousness is sweet 16 parties. The girls get dressed up in mini wedding dresses and a hall is rented, music provided and large gifts expected.
The wedding itself has risen to the cost of a year or two or three of an expensive University. Of course the Bride wears white signifying virginity. Pardon me while I guffaw! Come to think of it wasn't the expression "Sweet sixteen and never been kissed."? Now it's "Sweet sixteen and only had oral sex, so I guess I'm still a virgin."
When my Jewish buddies were Bah Mitzvahed they were considered to be men despite their early ages. They had to take on responsibilities of family and community all for a Fountain Pen, one that held real ink and had a point. Today for far more, I am told that the "men" or "women" are allowed to go back to worrying about their acne and hair and whatever else teenage children obsess over for far more than a fountain pen.
College was a place one went to learn and become aware of the world about us. It would take four years and many acquired a Liberal Arts degree. Graduate school allowed the most gifted to go on to specialized field always with the thought that learning was the goal. The undergraduate was out by 22 and the post graduate by 24. Now the college experience goes on without stopping with many stretching out the experience to the age of 30 or more, and it is not Doctors I am referring to. The cost has mushroomed to such a degree that many parents and students alike are in hock until old age. AND what does the College experience give besides drunken parties, unwed mothers and over age adolescents? With the lure of college being to get a GOOD JOB, that PAYS MUCHO MOOLA, one wonders where all this greed comes from doesn't one? From athletes to financial and economic gurus all that counts is how much money can I make.
We are all so smart these days. Nobody can tell anybody about purity of ideas and caring about the other guy. The theme is "How can I get mine and how fast?". The marriage pact comes later with the idea that if it doesn't work out there's always divorce. When the children are raised with the thought of everything is coming to them how can it be expected that when obligations come their way they run away from them. In life for better counts, for worse is time to bail. The loss of wonder comes from the loss of innocence. This is too bad because the wonder is still there if we only let the innocence stay for awhile.