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Growing Leaders Blog

on Leading the Next Generation


5 Big Choices Kids Must Make Before They Graduate

Over the last two days, I’ve blogged about an epidemic too few of us are aware of. It will hurt our national and global future if we fail to address it: Youth unemployment.

During the last two years, I’ve introduced our readers to a German sociologist, Gunnar Heinsohn, who teaches at the University of Bremen. His research tells us that whenever the youth population bulges over 30% in a nation, violence follows. It doesn’t matter if the society is impoverished or wealthy. It’s about young people wanting to find expression. They will find it with violence if they do not find it on a job. Today, 66 nations fit the criteria — a youth population over 30%. Of those 66 countries, 60 of them are in civil war or violent strife. It’s mostly young people. 27 of those nations are in the Muslim world.

Now here’s the catch. It’s worse when unemployment is high. Today’s youth unemployment is higher than at any point since World War II. This means they’re likely not getting the life skills they would at a job. Unemployment is just under 10% in the U.S. but among our kids who want to work — it is over 27%. They are the ones who suffer the most.

Let me suggest some action steps that caring adults can take to help young people determine their 5 most important career decisions:

1. Values: What are the core principles they hope to live by?
2. Vision: What is the big picture goal they’d like to accomplish?
3. Virtue: What is the primary strength or value they bring to a job?
4. Venue: Where is the most suitable place to use those strengths?
5. Vehicle: What daily activities should they practice to reach the vision?

I describe each of these steps in my latest book, Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future. Want to help a young person? The game plan is in this book, and you can find it along with loads of free articles at:

Your thoughts?



  1. Mike Elliott on January 27, 2011 at 7:21 am

    This is really impressive and fascinating. I live near Melbourne Australia and there is so much night time alcohol fueled street violence. Australia’s population is 22 million with an unemployment rate of about 5%. Melbourne’s population is 4 million. There are a lot of young people there. It’s sad that the stigma on young people is that they are just lazy and want to do nothing to contribute and not work to some this may be right but I know the majority want a great job.

    My favourite Bible verse is Jer 29:11. Young people need to know that Jesus gives a future and a hope!

    • Tim Elmore on January 27, 2011 at 12:43 pm

      Mike — You are so right. I agree. We adults have gotten a bad perspective on kids, and it’s now a stigma we have against them. It will prevent them from becoming the best version of themselves. Jeremiah 29:11 is one of the key messages we need to communicate to students today. Go for it. Thanks for staying in touch.

  2. Phillip Knight on January 29, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Tim, thanks for the excellent material once again. I am now a single father of two iY and this really helps me ‘get’ them. I am now a Regional Executive Director with a National Youth Mentoring organization and as always I am interested in partnership. [email protected]

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5 Big Choices Kids Must Make Before They Graduate