I saw this video in my Facebook feed this morning. Because the title had millennials in it, I had to watch it. Being a GenX'er, and a pastor who has worked with and continues to work with students who now fall into the millennial age bracket, and the next generation, I am always interested in what's being said about the generational breakdowns.
Simon Sinek is an author, speaker, and consultant who writes on leadership and management. (Wikipedia bio) His websites, SimonSinek.com and StartwithWhy.com, are chalked full of tips, how-tos, tools, and resources for leadership and management, including his books, Start With Why, and New York Times and Wall Street Journal best seller, Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t..
What struck me about the video was his assessment of the Millennials. Simon suggests four characteristics that millennials deal with; "failed" parenting, technology, impatience, and environment. Please take a few minutes to watch the video below.
So, is this true of all Millennials? Or is this a glimpse of a larger problem that has infected society with a deeper cultural issue?
As I watched Simon describe his four characteristics of parenting, technology, impatience, and environment, I found myself agreeing with his assement. The realities are "failed" parenting, increasing use of and addiction to technology, lack of patience, and the lack of conifidence in social and corporate settings are trends that we have seen in our student ministries and community families for a number of years now. But is it just the Millennials?
I think Simon is on point with his assessments, but I believe it's more than just a millennial issue. For instance, as a parent to parents, I would strongly suggest that we consider our roles as parents. I believe that there has been some break down in fulfilling our responsibility to parent our kids. I think it's time that we stop coddling our kids and instead begin preparing them for the realities of life; relationships, careers, success, failure, and soforth. To continue to deprive them of these realities is only going to prolong the problems we see already developing in our society.
Let's rethink our decisions when it comes to the availability of technology. Yes, I am one that deeply believes in the value of technology, but as a tool for life and not as a way of life. Having 3 teens with smart phones and tablets, I am all to aware of the dangers of unlimited access. To enhanse the problem even more, 3 of our 5 have been given laptops from the school for their studies. That would be great if the district had a more comprehensive plan for the technology, but the reality is, they now have a new device to watch videos, check social media, and surf the web with. And let's be honest, not only are they doing it at home, but their doing it at school as well.
But it's not just parenting and technology.
As a youth worker to youth workers, if you served students between 2000 and 2015, we are just as quilty as the parents. Because for many of us, we have created a student ministry bubble within our churches that has supported the same kind of harmful thinking. We have catered to our students in creating attractional, entertaining, and consumer driven ministry models that have separated an entire generation from the the large body of the church.
Over the last 20 years, we have become super influencial with our students. Students listen to what we say. They watch what we do. And they make life changing decisions based on the influence we've had on their beliefs, principals, practices, life styles, and purposes. I'll talk more about this in an upcoming blog series I am researching and preparing for about student ministry and the church. Look of it starting in 2017.
We have created the problem.
Jay Higham is a veteran youth worker of over 25 years; having worked with students in the local church and Christian camping settings. Jay is currently the Student Ministry Director at Hickory Church, located in Western PA. Jay has been married to Amy for 20 years. Together, they are raising 5 kids, (4 boys and 1 girl). Jay is an aspiring author, blogger, speaker, a vlogger, and social media junkie. He is passionate about student ministry, family ministry, and training youth workers to love and serve their students with passion and excellence.