There are so many organizations talking about the current generation’s failure to launch, I thought it may be interesting to explore why? Whether our kids are moving from High School to College or from College to Vocational life, I’m seeing some really interesting trends that deserve a little conversation. I hope this can be of some help as you determine where your students are in this process.
It’s no secret we have a long way to go in order for our academic institutions to catch up with the way the world has shifted in the last decade or two. Some organizations are on top of the shift, but most are still teaching students how to take a test, not how to learn. We need to make sure we’re giving our students ample space to explore ideas, wrestle with different information, and process the world through their lens instead of ours.
I’m amazed at how many times I run with Academics who just won’t bend the way they teach thinking that students will somehow return to the way it was before the internet. But let’s be honest: We’re not Going Back!
So either we can continue teaching students how to memorize facts, or we can work on teaching students how to engage with facts so they can use information to move into a place where they can add to the change happening in society.
So many students are struggling from High School to University or then from University to the real world, because we all know the real world isn’t about memorizing, but how to integrate information into real world situations.
You might think all students are social as long as they have an Instagram account or a Snapchat profile. Just look at how many people they communicate before breakfast. Right?
But actually, the world of social media has created a void in what it actually means to be social today. There’s the internet platform, and then there’s a place where students actually have to look at people in the eye to talk with them.
I saw this most evident this week in Washington D.C. with our KIVU Gap Year students.
At first, when I introduced the group to leaders in DC, they sat in the room and waited for me or one of the other leaders to begin the conversation. But last week, I watched the students take the conversation to places where they wanted to know information. It was an important step, AND a necessary one. Seeing students have the ability to share what they are interested in, wrestle with ideas they are unaware of, and maybe the most basic form of communication; listen to someone else is what we’re all about at KIVU.
I can’t tell you how many calls I get every single week where the conversation looks something like this:
“Hey Andy, we have a problem. It seems like our son won’t get out of the basement to find a job. He says he’s saving money to find his career, but I’m not sure. Do you have a program for us?”
And all I can say is “Well, actually, I’m not sure what to do.”
It seems like there’s this strange gap between University and actual Vocation, and it’s emerging as a HUGE problem. So we’ve started experimenting by exposing students to vocational probabilities whereby we expand their worldview. We show students what it means to show up to work on time. We show them how to engage with a boss. We help them see it takes a myriad of small steps to reach management level positions where they actually feel like they’re changing the world in their various vocational choices.
This is probably the most interesting launch, and I’ll have some verifiable research for you in the coming months.
And for any parent of a student in a youth group at a church, there’s a strange phenomenon happening where students are unable to transition from the high energy youth programs to their own faith paradigms. It’s easy to point fingers and find problems with other organizations, but I think it’s time we own this one.
We need to help our students explore faith on their own.
We need to help students wrestle with questions about Who God Is, Who Jesus Is, Who Man Is, and how they can engage with faith on their own.
The stats show a very dark picture for the trends of Spiritual launches in the future, but we can create spaces where students can ask questions about faith, and engage with their own.
These are the four major areas I’m trying to address with students in the Gap Year, but I’d love to hear from you. What areas are you seeing that need to be addressed in the lives of our future leaders? Are you seeing the same things? What ideas would you put on the table to help us mentor the leaders of tomorrow?
Eager to hear your thoughts.