Big Questions, Worthy Dreams is a book by Sharon Daloz Parks on the many cultural and developmental life challenges and transitions that shape emerging adulthood today. This book broke new ground with its in-depth analysis of the years between ages 18 and 30 (twentysomethings) when it first hit the bookstands in 2000. The revised edition updates the original and includes more big questions to ponder since 9/11, the advent of Facebook, a global recession and climate change.
According to Jennifer Mussi, director of student activities at Fordham University in New York City, Big Questions, Worthy Dreams is “essential reading” for those who work with young adults. In her review of the book for Character Clearinghouse, an online information center that includes book reviews on pertinent issues relating to the moral development of college students, she wrote:
“Sharon Daloz Parks explores the intricate transition years with care, enthusiasm and a critical eye. She cares deeply for young people and speaks directly to those who work closely with them. Parks provides a template for understanding and strengthening mentoring relationships during these critical human developmental years.”
Parks dedicates a whole chapter to the importance of individual mentors and mentoring communities to the development of emerging adults. Adult mentors and communities (such as faith communities) can help foster trust by encouraging the young adults they know to ask the big questions. One reason young adults tell us for becoming disconnected from their communities is that they were discouraged from asking questions. “I just couldn’t be myself” is a statement our Busted Halo® team hears far too often.
We recommend the book Big Questions, Worthy Dreams to those mentoring today’s young adults and anyone interested in understanding the challenges they face.