The Tender Trap

The thin line separating adolescence and adulthood has become a tightrope for youth and parents, with a shrinking safety net to break falls.

Times are tough for a lot of folks, still. There may be signs of progress in generic American commerce for a privileged handful, but common wisdom holds that until Main Street – the lifeblood of neighborhood economies – starts feeling the love, news of a sustained rebound is just that: news to those who continue pinching pennies.

Nowhere is the unease more easy to detect than in the plight of young people wending their way between adolescence and adulthood. My friend Michael Grace -- first-term supervisor of the Town of Yorktown in northern Westchester, with a positively Clintonesque command of policy details and issues as befits a Phi Beta Kappa -- harbors an abiding concern for what he identifies as the 15-25 age group. For one, he has children of his own in that range, so his insights are not merely theoretical but practical.

He regularly notes the scant opportunities these days for that cohort of job seekers, and how that void can turn into a trap of trouble for kids who champ at the bait of temptation in place of productive pursuits.

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