Friday, August 13, 2010

Generation iY -- Our Last Chance to Save Their Future

An Interview with Tim Elmore

Two years ago, I had a hunch. It drove me to interact with thousands of parents and students about the year 2030. What would life look like 20 years from now? My suspicions were confirmed. Fear is in the air. We are currently experiencing an “aftershock” following the cultural quake of the 1980s and 90s. I don’t think parents understood exactly how this perfect storm of technology and chemicals would impact our kids. Even today, teens admit to four realities they face. They are:

• Overwhelmed
• Over-connected
• Over-protected
• Over-served

This month, my book on this topic was released. It’s called, Generation iY -- Our Last Chance to Save Their Future. It represents a peek into the future with predictions for what could happen if we don’t rethink the way we lead today’s emerging generation of kids I call: Generation iY.

This book is about the second half of Gen Y, the population born since 1990. I call these new students Generation iY due to impact of the I World -- they’ve grown up on-line. Their world’s been shaped by iTunes, iMacs, iPods, iPhones, iPads and for many of them, life is pretty much about “I.” Narcissism is up measurably. Empathy is down measurably. This, however, is not another book that whines about kids today. Quite the opposite, it’s a book offering a plan to re-think how we raise this emerging generation. I worked to make it research based and solution biased.

Although I believe in these students, I’m concerned. Like atrophied muscles that have been in a cast for weeks, these youth have atrophied social and emotional skills because they haven’t used them. This has created a world much like Peter Pan’s. Do you remember Neverland? Like those Lost Boys, these kids refuse to grow up. College deans tell me 26 are the new 18. Kids graduate but life is ambushing them.

Perhaps this is the greatest problem. We have a postponed generation; they’re often unready for the challenges of work and service. Adults have spent more time protecting them than preparing them; we have prepared the path for the child not the child for the path. In the book, I reveal what I hope are helpful insights on:

1. Eight Damaging Parenting Styles and How to Avoid Them
2. Seven Lies We’ve Unwittingly Told our Children
3. Fourteen Ideas Parents Can Employ to Prepare Their Kids for Life

How can parents respond?

Outside of helping them cultivate a relationship with Jesus Christ, we must focus on building three elements in their lives:

1.Emotional Intelligence
2. Robust Character
3. Leadership perspective

In addition, we must communicate in an EPIC way with this EPIC Generation:

E – Experiential (They don’t want a sage on the stage, but an experience)
P – Participatory (They want to participate in the direction of their lives)
I – Image Rich (They’re a visual generation and love metaphors and images)
C – Connected (They’re connected 24/7 and want to learn this way)

I believe Generation iY needs adults who are both responsive and demanding. Responsive means we offer grace, understanding and support as they grow. Demanding means we hold them to high standards that match who they are. Often, they get one without the other. Kids today are under-challenged. In a responsive environment, we must equip them to be the best version of themselves, the version God had in mind from the beginning of time. And in the book, I do my best to lay out a plan to accomplish just that.

To find out more about Generation iY -- Our Last Chance to Save Their Future, visit www.savetheirfuturenow.com Now available on Amazon.com.

About the Author: Dr. Tim Elmore is the founder and president of Growing Leaders, an Atlanta-based non-profit organization created to develop emerging leaders. Through Growing Leaders, Elmore and his team provide public schools, state universities, civic organizations and corporations with the tools they need to help develop young leaders who can impact and transform society.

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