Wednesday, April 03, 2013

THE EMERGING SPRING


SPRING IS EMERGING ALL AROUND US, and those with hay fever are not too excited, but that aside, the poppies are popping, and the tulips are lifting their heads, the grasses are shooting skyward, and the trees are pushing forth their leaves.  It’s spring. It is a time for new birth, time for renewal, time to awake from winter’s slumber and seize the lengthening day.

As I ponder the emerging spring around me, my spirit quickly goes to thoughts of, “will this be the year we shall see an emerging spiritual hunger and with that an emerging spiritual awakening?” I do pray for this to happen, and I hope you are praying for this as well.

Adult Card
Adult Card (Photo credit: tbohlsen10)
This I know for a fact; the culture we find ourselves within as the church is incredibly different than the culture of my youth pastoring days, and in reality it is different than when I arrived back in Felton a little over fifteen years ago. Our world is quite a different place and the young people are quite a different group, not bad, just different. As a pastor, part of my responsibility is to create a place where the young adults in our church family can be nurtured into disciples of Jesus, the Messiah, and for some to rise to the occasion to be the future leadership of this church.

This was once again brought to my attention through an email I received from Biola University addressing those with students at Biola, like Li
Biola University
Biola University (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
nda and me, and how we can best encourage our children in their university education.  The article mainly addressed the issue of what the culture of today’s university student / young adult looks like and how we can best help them.

I contacted Biola University and was granted permission to share the article with you. For those of you with students in college, or in that age bracket, this will be helpful information. For those of you with children headed toward college in the future, this is well-worth your time. As the church of Jesus, this information is of critical importance as we seek to disciple young women and men to become fully devoted followers of the Lord Jesus, and as disciples to find their place in His Kingdom and to serve Him with their whole body, soul, mind and strength.

The following is the article by Colleen Heykoop, Director of Parent Relations. Thank you, Colleen for your graciousness in allowing me to share your insightful article. Once again, I am pleased to say I am a Biola University Alum! 

Parenting Emerging Adults

Have you heard the term “emerging adult?” It’s a fairly new concept that refers to the human developmental period between the ages of 18 and 29 years old. The thought is that in the United States, teens do not transition directly to adulthood as was perceived fifty years ago. Instead, there’s a period of time in which individuals gradually make that transition, in which they “emerge” as adults.

What makes an individual an adult? That is the $100,000 question. Unlike adolescence, which is marked by the onset of puberty, adulthood seems more fluid and determined by ones perception of independence. Marriage, once a primary mark of adulthood, is now viewed that way by just 4% of the 18 – 29 year-old set. What is the new marker for adulthood? The 2012 Clark University Poll of Emerging Adults says it’s “accepting responsibility for yourself” and “becoming financially independent.”1 With 30% of 18 – 29 year-olds living with their parents, it’s not surprising many view themselves as “not quite adults.”

This transition to adulthood is a tough one. Christian Smith, author of Souls in Transition: The Religious & Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults” says the process is defined by “intense identity exploration, instability, a focus on the self, feeling in limbo or in transition or ‘in between.’”2 Seventy-two percent of those polled by Clark University say this time in their life is stressful and 56% say they often feel anxious.3 Not surprising as they are wrestling with discovering their purpose and calling, while also trying to figure out where to live, how to find a job, and how to make friends.

Parents, you can play a significant role in helping your son or daughter navigate this precarious time. It will require you, however, to transition from parenting an adolescent to walking alongside an emerging adult. What does that look like? Here are some suggestions:
1.     Let your son or daughter face important decisions as an adult. Proverbs 22:6 states, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” You’ve had eighteen years to train them. Let them now have the opportunity to think through and make important decisions. This is hard, because they won’t always make the best decision. However they have your godly training to rely on as well as your support, and the ability to learn from mistakes.
2.     Earn the right to speak into their decisions by honoring their boundaries. Giving your son or daughter the gift of facing important decisions will communicate your confidence in them. And when your emerging adult feels supported by you, they will see you as a safe person in which to discuss their thoughts, feelings, options and decisions.
3.     Be prepared for your emerging adult to follow their own vocational goals, not the goals you have for them. Often we have an idea of what our children will grow up to do based on what we know of them. And often our children will not agree with our assessment. Point out the qualities and gifting you see in them, but refrain from telling them what vocation to choose. Instead focus on how they live and for whom they live their lives.
4.     Provide opportunities for your son or daughter to reflect on their experiences. Technology is so much a part of this generation’s life that a “here and now” mentality usurps any opportunity for reflection. You can help them reflect on what they are learning in chapel, in economics class, in their relationships, by simply asking them questions:
§  What has God been teaching you lately?
§  How has your economics class caused you to think differently about our role in society?
§  What have you learned about yourself through your roommate situation?
“As parents, our responsibility to help our children listen to God’s call is one that never ends. It simply changes in the way we serve as supporting agents in the divinely inspired process we call life.”4

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1 
http://www.clarku.edu/clarkpoll/pdfs/Clark_Poll_Peer%20Inst.pdf
2 Christian Smith and Patricia Snell, Souls in Transition: The Religious & Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), p.6.
3 
http://www.clarku.edu/clarkpoll/pdfs/Clark_Poll_Peer%20Inst.pdf
Todd C. Ream, Timothy W. Herrmann, C. Skip Trudeau, A Parent’s Guide to the Christian College. (Abilene Christian University Press, 2011) p. 186.

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