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Making Happy, Healthy Grownups

We want the absolute best for our kids, don’t we? We want them to be happy, to be well-adjusted, to find loving friends and spouses, to find meaningful work, and don’t forget- to pay their own bills.

But how confident are you that your kids are headed in the right direction?

I remember the first time I felt like a real adult— it was when my wife (then girlfriend) and I went to a jewelry store to look into buying an engagement ring. We were only 22 years old, and I was convinced that someone from the back of the store was going to confront us and demand to know why we thought we belonged there.

There were other significant moments, too: the first time I rented a car, the first time I signed loan documents, and the first time my wife had an ultrasound. It was a weird feeling- I knew I was doing adult-like things, but inside I still felt like I was playing pretend.

What defines an adult?

Is it someone who is over 18 years old?

Is an adult someone who has graduated college?

Are you an adult when you can pay your own bills?

The judicial system says you’re an adult at 18, the car companies say you’re an adult at 25, and the airlines say you’re an adult at 2 (they make you pay for your own seat, at least).

But just because your age has crossed a threshold, does that mean you’re a true adult?

We’ve been paying a lot of attention over the past few years to learn about the process and developmental thresholds that define adulthood. Whether it’s students in high school making life decisions about what to do after they graduate, or college students taking steps towards a career, or even transitioning military redesigning their lives post-service, the struggles through those transitions are really hard to get a clear glimpse of what life could look like. Ultimately, all those life stages are about growing up, something few people are taught how to do.

We’ve put together a checklist of internal and external attributes someone needs to master in order to grow up well. The items on the list are meant to define what a successful, happy, healthy, and thriving adult looks like.

  • Parents and educators are using the checklist to get feedback for progress.
  • Young people are using the checklist to see where they still need to grow.
  • We’re using The Checklist to design our program- the items you see are the outcomes we see after students finish the YouSchool.

Take a peek at THE LIST — do a self-evaluation. Ask some friends what they think about you. See where you might still need to grow. We know, implicitly, that most people don’t yet have these qualities or attributes. We also know that our young people today will NEVER be able to grow into these things until and unless they have those qualities demonstrated for them by people they know and observe.

I would love to have a conversation with you about the checklist, how we might be able to help your kids (or students) grow up into the kinds of people we all hope they become. Give me a call, shoot me an email, or comment below.


Scott Schimmel is a master at helping people grow. As President & Chief Guide of YouSchool, he is responsible for leading the charge, ensuring that everything we do delivers on our mission and vision. After spending over ten years in a non-profit helping college students become world changers, Scott is deeply aware of the challenges students face when stepping into the professional world. This is why he’s invested his time guiding young people.”


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS. 

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