Yesterday, I started a list of ideas adults can use to help teens and young adults grow up. Our society, which used to be part of the solution — is now part of the problem in why these kids stall and fail to mature until their late twenties.
These twenty-somethings have gone through our school systems and come out ill-equipped. Somehow, each level of education merely prepared them for more education — but not for the real world, where you begin at the bottom of the ladder and work hard for little pay or recognition. According to research done by Time magazine, most colleges are seriously out of step with the real world in getting students ready to become workers in the post-college world. Vocational schools like Devry and Strayer, focus on technical skills where they are seeing a boom in enrollment, growing 48% from 1996 to 2000. Unfortunately, most don’t get those practical skills in traditional colleges, and experience a huge gulf between school and career. More than 33% of twenty-somethings don’t consider themselves “adults” or “grown up.” Why? They’re still depending on mom and dad for room and board.
I offered 3 simple, practical ideas yesterday to address this challenge:
1. Help them identify their strengths and match their gifts with real-life work.
2. Arrange interviews with CEOs who can field their questions and talk “turkey.”
3. Encourage time limits on leisure activities.
Let me offer Part II of this list of ideas on how we can help our young mature:
4. Talk about the future on a regular basis.
The majority of the Millennial generation thinks about the future every week. I believe we need to help them talk about the future, and think out loud about their calling. Even if they change their mind 500 times in school, help them to move in some direction.
5. Help them develop coping strategies.
They need to know how to deal with setbacks, stresses and feelings of inadequacy. They must learn how to resolve conflict and solve problems. These are normal. But just watch American Idol, and you see how so many young adults struggle with reality. Most “singers” auditioning aren’t singers.
6. Make sure that childhood is not an impossible act to follow.
If you get them young — help insert responsibility right away. Make it appropriate, but give it to them. Don’t overindulge them. Avoid hyper-inflated egos and over-protection. We are doing a disservice to young people if we remove their chance to fail.
7. Nurture leadership qualities and skills in them.
Research from Helen and Alexander Astin, out of UCLA, reports that in today’s world — every young person will need leadership skills. Leadership is not just for the elite, but for everyone who wants to get somewhere in their life.
This is why I’m so passionate about helping you lead well and to equip your students in leadership. On our Growing Leaders store, we offer ideas and projects you can do with students to teach them leadership. Your first step can be as simple as discussing one Habitude® a week with your young people, and applying it to their life. Habitudes® are images that form leadership habits and attitudes. (They are small books to be used in mentoring relationships.) You can find both the ideas and the books at: www.GrowingLeaders.com/store. Let’s prepare this generation to lead the way.