a few weeks ago, leadership guru and all-around expert in all things Generation Y, tim elmore, wrote this great post about the 6 fears and concerns of college students today. as someone who works with college students, i thought i would take a couple of posts and share a quick response to each of these fears and concerns. today is part 1 and will address the first 3 statements.
1 // they list the need to grow up faster as among the biggest disadvantages of their generation.
there is no doubt, kids are growing up faster than they have ever had to before. and i also have no doubt that college students feel that pressure. but, i think many college students are resisting this felt need by refusing to actually grow up.
this is especially true for men. much has been written about the “boys who can shave” epidemic. the point at which a boy becomes a man gets later and later in life. first, you were a man when you quit school and worked in the family trade. then it was when you could drive. then, when you could vote and buy smokes and get a tattoo. then when you went to college. then when you could drink. then when you got a job. then when you got married. then when you had a kid.
the fact is, many college men may feel this pressure to grow up fast, but they aren’t doing it. in fact, a study in britain just revealed that the number of men between the ages of 20 and 34 who were still living at home has increased from 14% in 1997 to 33% in 2011.
failure to launch, anyone?
the bottom line is that college students are feeling this pressure to grow up fast. but they aren’t necessarily doing it. and those of us in campus ministry are left with the tension of helping to train a generation of students to actually grow up.
2 // they are not happy with the direction of the country.
elmore says that 62% of generation y believes the country is headed in the wrong direction. and, my facebook feed today (on the day the supreme court upholds obamacare) confirms this.
i’m not sure that students completely understand the potential they have within them to bring about real change. it’s so much easier to whine on facebook than it is to get our hands dirty. students don’t feel they can make a difference in a machine as big as american politics. or in the world for that matter.
can we convey to students the truth of ghandi’s statement that they must “be the change [they] want to see in the world.” we must equip them to think in terms of smaller is bigger. Jesus taught this concept. and so of course, we must center this change on the principles of the Kingdom of Christ.
3 // in some ways, they are at odds with their own beliefs and values.
this is an interesting statement. the students i work with tend to know what they believe; they just aren’t sure how to express those beliefs. they love Jesus, but they aren’t so sure about folks in the church. they struggle to find their place in the community of the saints.
the desires of college students in the faith arena are, in my estimation, shockingly simple: honesty, transparency, and authenticity. if we (the “grown ups”) could express our faith in these terms, it would go a long way in discipling our college students.
question for you: i would love to hear from my college students today: do you think elmore’s observations are right on? what about my thoughts? what would you add?