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"Second-Half Adults"
by Tom Goodman
February 2, 2006

“Life may not work out exactly the way we'd hoped.  For some, it will be better.  For others, maybe not so good.  But for me, right now, it's a whole lot better than what I thought a few years ago.  If you want to do something, go for it.  Learn something new.  You never know what's going to come along and kick you, but for me, I have my wife, I have my kids, and I can still dance.”
             —Dennis Kroucik, age 60 (“Turning 60”, Newsweek, November 2005)

The fifteen-year age span known as the Baby Boomer generation is squarely in the second half of adulthood, now that their oldest members turned 60 in 2005.  Many are coming to realize that they are only halfway through adulthood—and their most valuable years are ahead of them, not behind them.  How will our church capture the imagination and passion of Austin Boomers in what may become their most spiritually-hungry years?

Last week we looked at five “struggles” of first-half adults in order to think about how to reach them.  This week, let’s look at four crises of second-half adults.  While last week’s list came from John Burke’s book, No Perfect People Allowed, this list is my own.  Here are the four “D’s” that can get second-half adults to think about spiritual things:

Death.  Second-half adults are more likely to deal with the loss of friends and loved ones than are first-half adults.  It makes them more likely to think about what they really want out of life . . . and what’s beyond it.

Divorce.  Second-half adults are more likely to re-examine their marriage commitments.  Having spent the first half of adulthood on getting ahead at work and raising kids at home, some marriage partners find they have little in common once the kids are gone and retirement looms.

Disease.  Second-half adults are adjusting to the limits and frailties of life as they see their friends dealing with medical concerns such as cancer or diabetes or heart disease.  Helping folks battle these illnesses—or live productively under these illnesses—is a huge issue.

Difference.  Second-half adults want to make a difference, and if they’re late waking up to that desire, they have a second chance to do something about it.  Many will have another 30 years or so to make life count.  That may be the most exciting characteristic of second-half adults, especially the Boomers among them!

For more information on impacting Boomers, I recommend Bob Buford’s book, Halftime, and his website, www.halftime.org.  Also, Wade Clark Roof’s 1993 book, A Generation of Seekers, still has some relevant challenges.  In addition, I enjoyed the brief news piece at MSNBC, “Baby Boomers Seek Spirituality.” Go to www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9971428 and click on the “Launch” button for the video report.  It’s part of last year’s Newsweek and NBC coverage, The Boomer Files.


The Dennis Kroucik quote was found in the article, “Turning 60” in the November 2005 edition of Newsweek, available online.

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