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Growing Leaders Blog

on Leading the Next Generation


Need a Resolution? (Part I)

The new year is upon us — a time when millions of Americans make “resolutions” they plan to keep for the new year. Most of them have something to do with personal improvement; like losing weight, saving money, working out, etc.

I was wondering this week if you needed some help on yours?

If so, for the next few days, I plan to offer some relevant resolutions for us to make in this great country we live in. Let’s start with a deep need occurring all around us — our kids. Despite some rare pockets in suburbia, they are in trouble.

The national high school dropout rate is currently a dismal 69%. Every school day, 7,200 young people give up on school. Nearly half of African-American, Latino and Native American students fail to graduate on time with their class.

Is this the end of the world? No — but it may be the end of the world as we know it. While education is not the answer to every need, without it young adults often spiral down a path of destruction and failed potential. With the exception of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, they do not become the best version of themselves. We have a personal and educational crisis on our hands.

However, it doesn’t stop there. It represents a financial crisis, too. Consider this. Had these dropouts graduated, our nation’s economy would have benefited from more than $335 billion in income over their lifetimes. If even half of those students had graduated, it would yield $45 billion annually in extra tax revenue and cost savings. What’s more, the U.S. Census Bureau tells us a high school dropout will make $260,000 less than a high school graduate, and will contribute tens of thousands of dollars less in taxes. In fact, they’ll often need tax money to live. (A college graduate makes more than $35,000 a year than a high school dropout.) Further, if the male graduation rate were improved by a mere 5%, our nation would save $4.9 billion in crime related costs annually. Unbelievable.

So — here’s the resolution. What if each of us determined to get involved in our local schools and help solve this problem? For some students, they just need a caring adult to offer a little vision for their future; you could share your story and encourage them to go after their dreams in an after-school program. It may be you could volunteer once a week at a local Boys and Girls Club. Perhaps you could become a mentor for an at-risk kid. It doesn’t take a lot to impact a young person. Each of our team members at Growing Leaders is doing something like this — volunteering in Young Life, mentoring a group of girls, giving financially, leading small groups, or supplying Habitudes® books to schools and non-profits.

For us, it is a personal, financial, educational, and spiritual issue. We owe it to them to invest in their future. It makes an amazing resolution for 2011. Will you join us?

Your thoughts?



  1. on December 28, 2010 at 8:24 am

    I am looking forward to these post’s Tim. I have decided this month to help train and serve the adult and student leaders of YoungLife this next semester…and am planning on walking them through your Habitude series…

    • Tim Elmore on January 3, 2011 at 10:39 pm

      Chris — Thanks for your feedback and support! If you need me to get you in touch with one of my colleagues, please let me know.

  2. Kathy on December 28, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    I was a mentor at City Mission in Detroit until cancer entered my life. I had to put that aside until I was well. Now I am almost healed and looking forward to once again becoming a tutor/mentor at City. It takes time and money, but it is worth it in the end. Tim, you always challenge me whenever I hear you speak at Northridge or read an article from you. God has used you in my life.

    • Tim Elmore on January 3, 2011 at 10:41 pm

      Kathy — What a story you have! Thanks for sharing and for your encouragement. That is awesome you’re healing and becoming a mentor again. Thanks for taking the time to invest in the next generation! We need more people like you. :o)

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Need a Resolution? (Part I)