2. Students Today are Different
Today’s students are different. Gone are the days of students who just ramble on through life accepting ideas as they’re taught in school, at home, or at church. They just don’t buy it. The access they have to the internet has provided a clear vision of the world, the way it spins, and how they should respond. Issues like war, poverty, disease that line the front pages of our newspapers are popping off the charts in their world. They think about things I never had the opportunity to think about.
I was talking with some friends the other day who were in a PTA meeting at school. In attendance were parents, teachers, and a few select students who were discussing the values of the education they were doing at the local high school. A topic came up about a specific reading list, and one of the books was one that described abject poverty around the world. One of the parents stood up and said, “I don’t know why our kids should read this because there is NO POVERTY IN AMERICA!”
The parent was well-meaning.
They were successful, and lived in an environment of successful people, but the students knew better.
They see poverty on their news feed.
They want to go make a difference in the world.
They are trying to develop the skills to see their lives significant in the Global View, rather than a Local View.
Gone are the days when the issues in your backyard are the most important issues to them. The Internet has literally flattened the entire world, and the ease of travel has given them an opportunity to be involved in the Global Conversation at an earlier and earlier age.
So what are we supposed to do with that?
I know every day as parents we’re just trying to make sense of today.
Get the kids to school
Make sure they have a lunch
Make sure they have proper equipment for the day.
Go to the grocery store
Do the laundry
Clean the house
Go to work to provide
And when it’s all over, we just wake up and do it again
But in a Global Village, we have a responsibility to help our kids work through those conversations that are hard. Spend some time with your teenager talking about what’s going on in a particular part of the world, and see if their eyes light up with a passion to go and help. It doesn’t mean they have to go there. But they may have some unique ideas that would make the difference in the way the world spins today.
When I hang with today’s teens, they think different. It’s our job to meet them where they are and “fan into flame” some desire they already have smoldering in their soul.