Are We Over- Protecting Our Children?

This post was first posted on Breakpoint.

Maybe you’ve heard that phrase “killing them with kindness”? According to some, that may be what our culture is doing to today’s college students, at least psychologically.

Peter Gray, a research professor at Boston College, sees what he calls “declining student resilience.” At one major university, “emergency calls to counseling had more than doubled over the past five years. Students are increasingly seeking help for, and apparently having emotional crises over, problems of everyday life.”

Gray said that one student felt traumatized because her roommate had called her a nasty name. Two others sought counseling because they’d seen a mouse in their off-campus apartment. They called the police, who, he says, “kindly arrived and set a mousetrap for them.” The Atlantic calls this kind of thing “the coddling of the American mind.”

Many of these emotionally stunted students can’t handle a bad grade, and their professors live in fear of negative student reviews or lawsuits. Or as one director of counseling said, “There has been … a decrease in the ability of many young people to manage the everyday bumps in the road of life.”

What’s going on? Dan Jones, the past president of the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors, points at parents, saying, “[Students] haven’t developed skills in how to soothe themselves, because their parents have solved all their problems and removed the obstacles. They don’t seem to have as much grit as previous generations.”

In other words, there’s been way too much helicopter parenting!

Cameron Cole, a youth pastor in Alabama, knows that overly protecting our kids isn’t biblical. Pain, after all, is part of spiritual growth. “On Jesus’s way to redeeming the world he encountered betrayal, injustice, torture, violence, condemnation, imprisonment, and alienation,” Cole writes. “How deluded I am when I think an alternate path exists for my child’s ‘hoped for’ service to God’s kingdom. He will not wear the crown … unless he bears a cross.”

Too many kids take the easy path, which is the only path they’ve ever known. They’re afraid to fail so they avoid risk at all costs. But our faith teaches us risky obedience to God, knowing He’s in control.

I’m reminded of this point every time I speak with my friend Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of imprisoned pastor Saeed. Jesus said, “I’m with you always.” And let’s not forget, “Nothing shall be impossible.” So let’s share this bracing perspective with our sons and daughters, and live by it.

And let’s not forget that college students in former generations followed this God of the impossible. In 1886, Dwight L. Moody presided over a meeting of 251 college students in Massachusetts. They came from all over the country, and eventually an interest grew in foreign missions. As ChristianHistory.net reports, one of the students, Robert Wilder, organized a meeting for all of those interested in missions, and 21 young people showed up. He later wrote, “Seldom have I seen an audience under the sway of God’s Spirit as it was that night. The delegates withdrew to their rooms or went out under the great trees to wait on God for guidance.”

When the conference was over, 100 students had committed themselves to become overseas missionaries. It was the start of a movement that saw tens of thousands of people carry the gospel around the globe. Is such a passion still conceivable for us?

Yes! But the key is what I learned in my years of teaching teens and college students: Remove the bubble wrap. And like Moody, encourage them toward a God-sized vision for their lives. Help them see their giftedness and how it relates to the needs in their world, so that they can pursue their role in God’s restoration of all things under the lordship of Christ.
And as their leaders, parents, and mentors we need to give them permission to try . . . and room to fail.

Source: Breakpoint

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Kids These Days: Generation Z Most Conservative Since WWII

Around the world.

Kids These Days: Generation Z

For at least a decade, Millennials have been stereotyped as lazy, entitled, and stuck on social media. In Nigeria, our President had already tagged us to be lazy youths with no ambition. While that may not be entirely fair, they are notoriously liberal, overwhelmingly supporting left-leaning candidates and favoring policies like nationalized healthcare and same-sex “marriage.”

But Millennials are also getting old—relatively speaking. The first are now reaching the ripe old age of thirty-five! And sometime between 1995 and 2000, the millennial generation ended, or at least stopped being born, and a new generation began.

Members of “Generation Z” are now beginning to graduate high school, and 2016 was the first time any of them were old enough to vote. At seventy million and counting, they’re also about to outnumber their predecessors.

So, what’s so intriguing about this new brood? Well, according to a growing body of research, they may be, by certain measures, the most conservative generation since World War II—more than Millennials, Generation Xers and even the Baby-Boomers.

Millennials were raised in a time of roaring prosperity, when video cassettes were a bigger influence than digital technology, and many came of age before the age of radical Islamic terror. Gen Z kids, by contrast, are “digital natives.” They’ve never known life without the Internet, and have grown up surrounded by instant access to the world’s harsh realities on their smart phones.

These young people are products of conflict and recession. They can only remember a news cycle “marred by economic stress, rising student debt… and war overseas.” As a result, they’ve taken on what one team of Goldman-Sachs analysts called a “more pragmatic” and conservative outlook on the world.

Of course, generalizations at this stage are very early and very subject to development.

And get this: According to one British study conducted by global consultancy firm, The Guild, almost sixty percent of Gen Z respondents in the U.K. described their views on “same-sex marriage, transgender rights and marijuana legalization” as “conservative” or “moderate,” compared with a whopping 83% of Millennials who called themselves “quite” or “very liberal” on these issues. The Gen Z participants were even ten times more likely than Millennials to dislike tattoos and body piercings!

These are good trends, but these students still need discipleship and catechesis. A tendency toward traditional values, by itself, means nothing unless those who believe in revealed Truth, the Gospel, the natural family, and political and religious liberty step forward and train the next generation to articulate and live out these truths.

What is clear from this emerging data about the young is that they don’t fit neatly into rhetoric about the “right side of history.” As Columbia University sociologist, Musa Al-Gharbi writes, trends like this are deeply troubling for those so recently crowing that the future belonged to one political party.

No one knows what the future holds, except the One Who holds the future! And the fact that so many were apparently wrong about the right side of history is just another reminder that He alone is God, Whom the Psalmist called “faithful throughout all generations.”