This week, I am blogging about the virtue of patience—waiting for what we want. And, helping kids wait for what they want. It’s a sure sign of maturation. In my new book, Artificial Maturity—Helping Kids Meet the Challenge of Becoming Authentic Adults, I introduce readers to the next generation following Generation Y. Some social scientists call them: “The Homelanders” since

I keep my ear to the ground to stay up on the latest trends in culture. I’m especially interested in helping faculty, staff, employers and coaches manage teens and twenty-somethings. I just attended a conference, and heard something I hadn’t heard before. One keynote speaker, the NASPA director emeritus, told us companies in the U.S. are now hiring “praise consultants”

If you’ve kept up with the NBA, you know that the Oklahoma City Thunder are playing the Miami Heat. Sounds like a perfect storm to me. Even if you don’t keep up with professional basketball—you likely know the name Lebron James. He is the most celebrated basketball player in the world right now. His shooting, his defense, his quickness and his

While on a trip recently, someone complimented me after I spoke. Affirmation is always nice to hear, but this time it sparked a conversation. My response to this guy was straight from the gut: “I have no excuses for not being good. If I’m not good, it’s my own fault!” After we both laughed, I explained my comment. Over the years,

Yesterday, journalist Chuck Raasch posted an intriguing article on the front page of USA Today, called: “How This Job Market Could Scar a Generation.” In essence, Raasch speculates that the college graduates of today may resemble those of the early 1930's who grew up in relative affluence, but then it all came crashing down…literally, with the stock market. Those young adults were

Today is a milestone day for me and for Growing Leaders.

My newest hardback book, Artificial Maturity—Helping Kids Meet the Challenge of Becoming Authentic Adults, arrives in bookstores and on Amazon today. And…it will be on our site as well.  Let me tell you why I am so excited. Two years ago, we released the book, Generation iY—Our Last Chance to Save Their Future. I cannot tell you how gratifying it is to talk to coaches, teachers, parents, youth pastors and employers who say the book was a “wake up call” for them as they lead young people. That was the purpose of the book: a wake up call. Artificial Maturity is a book of solutions to the iY challenge.

I often write about how the lack of fathers is affecting the next generation. Research continues to show us that our entire society suffers when fathers are missing. Whether a father is physically absent or is in the home but emotionally unengaged, the outcomes are unfortunately very similar. I was very excited when I heard that my friend Mark Merrill was

Recently, I spent some time with some great educators from Shelby County, AL. I spoke to principals, assistant principals and teacher-leaders about how to connect with and equip Generation iY (the students born since 1990). After my second day, a principal approached me with what he called: cognitive dissonance. He agreed with everything I said about the challenges of teaching these

A few years ago, we invited a brilliant young woman, Liz Murray, to speak at our National Leadership Forum. She was called the “Homeless to Harvard” girl, who literally went from living on the streets of New York City to a graduate of Harvard University, thanks to a scholarship from the New York Times. Well—its’ happened again, this time in North

Futurist Leonard Sweet has become a friend over the years. He’s spoken at our National Leadership Forum and he writes incredible books—which I recommend. One quality I like about Dr. Sweet is his ability to summarize realities in our culture that provide a gauge for those of us who lead students. He and I both agree that these kids are

Marine Corps General James Amos is doing some extra-curricular activities this month. Have you heard? USA Today just reported that he and other officers are making the rounds to various Marine bases worldwide, to check into the disciplines and regiments of our soldiers there. His goal is to meet with officers and encourage them to get “back to true north”

For twelve years now, sociologists have been surveying students from Generation Y. They are the kids born between 1984 and 2002. Authors Howe and Strauss drew some early conclusions about them. Some of them remain the same; others have changed, as Gen Y has become iY (The kids born since 1990). While reviewing the pros and the cons of these

The year was 1870. A powerful and corrupt politician named Boss Tweed led a ring that controlled New York City’s government and a majority of the state legislature. He was the Commissioner of Public Works for New York—and it seemed no one could dethrone him. That is, no one except for a cartoonist named Thomas Nast, who drew editorial cartoons

The following article is a taste of my new book, Artificial Maturity: Helping Kids Meet the Challenge of Becoming Authentic Adults. It is a sequel to Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future, and is literally a solution book for the challenges we face as we teach, lead and raise kids. I cannot tell you how excited I am about this book. It pinpoints the reason kids can’t seem to grow up, and every chapter provides ideas to meet the challenge…ideas which came in from all over the world. The book will be released in June. Enjoy. Artificial Maturity California, the Golden State, was home to me for most of my life. It’s likely called the Golden State for a number of reasons—not the least of which is the gold rush that started on January 24, 1848. The part of this story most people forget is the large number of people whose expectations were dashed when they found nothing—or worse, when they discovered "Blotite," or "fool’s gold." It’s just another name for iron pyrite, a naturally occurring mineral often mistaken for gold. Many "fools" thought they had struck it rich in that rush, only to find out their "gold" was actually worthless. In many ways, we have another gold rush today. This time, the gold we hunt for is mature teens. By this, I mean young people who are mature for their age—kids who experience “authentic maturity,” growing up not merely in one facet of their lives, but physically, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. This is what parents hope for in their kids. It’s what teachers dream of in their students; it’s what coaches look for in their athletes; it’s what employers need in their young team members. That maturity is what we saw in many young people a hundred years ago—but alas, it is rare today. Something in our culture has shifted.