This is blog post number four on my list of ideas we can employ as we work with students. These are practical action steps to take as you attempt to build healthy habits and attitudes in them. I call the latest batch of Generation Y, Generation iY, because of the impact of the “I” world — the Internet. It has produced a younger population of Y students whose life is about “I.” Many are self-absorbed; even more so than previous youth populations, according to Dr. Jean Twenge, author of Generation Me. Here are two more ideas…
7. Provide options to participate in a cause that’s bigger than they are.
I have exposed my kids to needs in their community or across the globe in developing nations. They got to serve and to see how most of the world lives with less. (One in six people in the world live on $1 a day.) Challenge them to expand their horizons. Ask them to give their own money sacrificially for a cause they’ve observed. Fulfillment comes not from personal pleasure but global purpose. They must learn to invest their lives in a worthwhile cause.
8. Enable them to take control of their lives; to boss their calendars.
Allow them to set their priorities, and warn them that they’ll live with the consequences of their decisions. Help them become drivers, not passengers in life. Hold them accountable and responsible for choices they’ve made; do not bail them out. Let them see that failure isn’t final and poor judgment is not necessarily poor character. Help them slow down and make sense of what goals they really want to pursue. Balance schedules and allow young people to ease into challenges that are beyond a parent’s ability to shelter them. Allow them to grow into adult responsibility and learn in safe places.
What do you do to help students grow up and become less “me” centered and more others centered?
Countdown to the book release: Generation iY—Our Last Chance to Save Their Future: 13 days