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Growing Leaders Blog

on Leading the Next Generation


Three Hurdles Kids Must Jump to Grow Up (Part Two)

Yesterday, I began reviewing three hurdles students must jump in order to mature in a healthy way. Our cultures makes growing up hard, as kids are exposed to information far earlier than they are ready and get answers almost instantly. We looked at the hurdle of “speed” and how our fast-paced world disables them from developing patience. Today, let’s look at hurdle number two:

2. Hurdle Two: Convenience

Let’s face it. We love the conveniences of modern life: cell phones, ATMs, fast food restaurants, e-books, social media, frequent flyer miles and webinars. All these elements have made life both efficient and easy. I’ll admit it—I love to find ways to make my life a bit more effortless. I must also admit, however, that in doing so, I may slow down my own maturity. Depth comes when I must persevere; when things don’t come quick and easy. The struggle brings a work ethic, and a tenacity that may not surface any other way. The proverbial “free lunch” actually has a price: soft people who are ill-equipped for hard times. Middle class kids growing up today live in a time of great comfort and ease. No doubt they feel the stress of making good grades and doing well at soccer games or piano recitals, but many never know the experience of hard work or determination or follow-through on a project that takes a long time to finish and in which they may fail. People don’t grow when everything comes to them easily.

To overcome a dependence on convenience: We must teach students perseverance.

  1. Choose a project to collaborate on that requires effort and tenacity. Perhaps it’s climbing a mountain or biking a long-distance. Maybe it’s a science project you can work on together. Then, throughout the project, talk over the value of working hard and enduring unglamorous attempts at succeeding.
  2. Sometime this year—allow your student to fail at something. This is counter-intuitive, because most of us want our kids to “win” and succeed. When they fail, however, use it as a teachable moment and talk over the value of failure; of things being hard and how it makes success even sweeter in the future.

OK. Let me know your thoughts? What other ways can we help kids persevere?


(This post is an excerpt from my new book, Artificial Maturity, which will be released next year. Stay tuned.)


  1. Moakster on July 20, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Tim, this is a great post… I totally agree with you.  As the dad to 3 small boys I am concerned that they will not grow up with same “hard work” values that my father instilled into me.  I’m already looking for ways to teach my oldest (6) how to set a goal and then meet that goal with determination and hard work.  I’ve been ministered to two different generations of teenagers over 13 years now as a Full Time YP and I am very bothered by how easy things are for students in this culture.  The magnitude of choices and convenience options… I believe, is really hindering this youth generation from learning how to really appreciate goal setting and the pride of working to see greatness achieved.  There is a blatant “entitlement” issue that most teens today live in… they’ve been taught by social media that “they deserve it”… it’s such a struggle to try and reverse that thinking too… i’ve been chewing on Mark 8:35-36 (message bible), lately and i keep asking myself… “What am I willing to TRADE in this life to make an impact on someone else for eternal life?”

    Thanks for taking the reigns in leading this young generation and helping guys like me get better each day…. I appreciate your insight.

    working to reach a generation for Him,

    Michael Moak

  2. Trent Thomas on July 20, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    I feel that teaching youth about finances is very important as well.  They learn the power of choices and delayed gratification by making them pay for something with money they have accumulated and saved.  

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Three Hurdles Kids Must Jump to Grow Up (Part Two)