Out of Africa

African harp

There before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe people and language, standing before the throne and before the lamb. Revelation 7:9

I’ve had a couple of weeks to recover from my trip to Jos, Nigeria.  I thought I would reflect on my experience as to what I learned. Although our cultures are very different (I will elaborate a bit on this thought), we are quite similar. The cultural context may change, but the hearts and the issues are the same.

African life is much more impromptu and unscripted than ours. Maybe it’s part of a colder versus warmer climate phenomenon.  Time is relative; things don’t always start or end on time, and that’s OK with them. I call it African time. For those of us who are a bit compulsive, it might drive you nuts.

An example of this occurred when one of the speakers for our conference was unable to attend at the last moment. That left a hole in the schedule for an hour presentation. Our conference leader looked around the room at his leadership and asked one man, a pastor from Gambia, to take his place.  This was at 7 pm, and the man was to speak the next morning at 10.

Without hesitation, the Gambian pastor accepted the assignment, and his presentation the next morning was accompanied by a power point slide presentation. He did a great job under pretty tough circumstances, although I wonder if he got any sleep.

He is pictured above playing an African harp, the design of which has been around for 1,000’s of years It may have been a relative of the harp today. It is played backwards, and the stalk of the instrument where the strings are attached is made of stretched cowhide which can be adjusted to tune it. The instrument had a marvelous sound.

Another example was the style of worship. Here in America, nothing is left to chance, and most worship leaders provide music or lyrics for the next weeks’ songs in advance.  Everyone is thus playing off the same sheet of music when you practice and prepare.

Not so in Africa. They have no music or lyrics to provide, and having practice seems irrelevant to them.  If you from America are holding a mike o stage, it is quite disconcerting, to say the least. You are expected to perform. Fortunately, most songs are in English and have repeatable refrains that are easy to pick up and provide harmony.

Still, looking at the keyboard, drums, trumpet and guitar without any music or direction is unsettling. They are used to it, and the music is always beautiful, although not always perfect.

One similarity, though, is that the millennials are digitally connected, not just in America but in Africa too.  That’s what makes millennials in Africa not much different from those in other cultures. The pastors and leaders in the room were all interested in connecting to this next generation but were scratching their heads on how to do it.

Conversely, the millennials in the audience (about a third) were there trying to figure out the opposite: How to connect with a Christianity which is not digitally savvy.  It occurred to me that we have two groups of people – the millennials and older generations – each trying to figure out how to interact and communicate with each other, yet neither one having the perfect answer.

A woman pastor from Nigeria has a church which is about 95% millennials (which is good). She was struggling to find relevant ways to communicate and interact with them. What we both learned is that we have things to learn from millennials, just as they have things to learn from older generations.

By the time the conference was over, I think she had some insights on how to approach them more effectively.  What I said at the conference is true: it is not what you teach them, it is how you deliver the message that is important.

The challenge is to embrace newer technology which is not going away. It is the pipeline into the millennial culture, and the more creative we can be to harness it, the easier it will be to connect with our next generations.

MENTOR TAKEAWAY: Listening to your mentee is important. You can learn from them which is so important in helping guide their path in their world which is technologically different from yours.

WORSHIP:  Listen to Michael W. Smith sing Open the Eyes of My Heart.

COMMENT:  I would be delighted at comments on this or any other post. You can comment by clicking on the icon at the top of the page or emailing me at otterpater@nc.rr.com.

SUBSCRIBE:  You can receive an email notice of each post by clicking on the icon at the top right corner of the site (www.mentorlink.wordpress.com)  and entering your email address.

 

 

 

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Peer Mentoring

peers
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

This is a topic I’ve touched on over the past  two years, but thought I would take another look at it. The topic comes up wherever I go, and often gets a lot of questions about how it works, or how to get started.

For openers, mentoring comes in multiple forms. We usually think of the term as describing a relationship between an older more experienced person with a younger one. Most of my mentoring relationships are in that vein.

But for pastors and others, both here and abroad, there is a need for another type of mentor – someone who is a peer or a colleague. It’s what I refer to as “peer mentoring”, where a group of peers get together on a regular basis to invest in each other’s lives.

My own experience with peer mentoring comes from meeting with Ralph Ennis and Stacy Rinehart for weekly. Although I am the eldest of the group (somehow, I am always the oldest), we are in close proximity in age.

Over the past 25 years, we encountered a broad spectrum of life issues: child rearing issues, kids going to college, health problems, death of parents, marriages of our offspring, and issues of our vocations. There really was no limit to what we talked about – life is not linear, and so as our lives meandered with issues, we dealt with.

We literally “one anothered one another”. We started with a friend who expressed a desire to have a spiritual board of directors. For those not accustomed to corporate lingo, a “board” provides oversight and input into each other’s life. Major decisions or life issues were to be brought before the “board” for input or comment. It was a priceless benefit to each of us.

If you are a pastor and you feel isolated, you should consider finding someone to be a peer mentor. From my experience, the candidate needn’t be another pastor. Here are five suggestions to help you along the way:

1. The qualifications for a peer mentor may look like the character traits of an Elder in listed in  1 Timothy 5 and Titus. Seek out a like-minded Godly man who is committed to developing a deeper relationship with you and is willing to be transparent. They are out there, but you may have to spend some time canvassing your colleagues.
2. Be patient in developing a relationship and learning about each other. One way to start, if you don’t know the person well, is to have each person tell his story to the others. Women are more relational, and often can develop deep connections better than men.
3. The ideal number of peer mentors is 3 or 4, because if one is out-of-town or unavailable, the others can get together in his absence. This comes from Ecclesiastes 4:12 which mentions that “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
4. You have to commit to meet regularly as schedules permit. How you meet – in person or over skype or What’s App – is up to you. Our meetings changed as to time of day and the day of the week based on our personal schedules over time.
5. Using the term “mentor” often causes confusion. For what it is worth, my group never used the term until much after the fact.

I was recently asked if one can have peer mentors (or even a mentor) at a distance. I have thought about it, and while it is not ideal, it can be done with technologies like Skype or iM (Instant Messaging through a Facebook app), or other apps like What’s-App. The platform doesn’t matter, but the connection does.

Sometimes, one in the group had a pressing issue which required a deep back and forth about considering options or consequences to possible solutions. That was OK, and usually each of us in our group had our moment in the sun when our issues were so deep that we needed that kind of focus.

In “We is Better than Me”, , I encouraged men to live in community with one another. The concept of an accountability group is similar and can be encompassed with your peers. I tell men at our weekly Friday bible study that God did not put us on earth to be isolated. No one commits a carnal sin in a group. A person who thinks he can survive alone in this world without a close friend or peer is deluding himself.

Few men and pastors have deep relationships that would be tantamount to a peer mentoring group. I find it sad because they are missing out. The challenge for you is that, if you feel a need for someone else to speak into your life, you need to take the initiative and seek it out. It won’t happen accidentally.

MENTOR TAKEAWAY: Peer mentoring can be a useful tool in your tool kit by encouraging your mentees to seek other peers to join them on their life’s journey.
RESOURCES: A good read for all men is “Man in the Mirror”  by Patrick Morley which was recently updated.

WORSHIP: Listen to Paul Baloche sing “Today is the Day”  reminding us to put our past behind and starting fresh each day.
COMMENT: I would be delighted at comments on this or any other post. You can comment by clicking on the icon at the top of the page or emailing me at otterpater@nc.rr.com.
SUBSCRIBE: You can receive an email notice of each post by clicking on the icon at the top right corner of the site (www.mentorlink.wordpress.com) and entering your email address.

 

Reaching Millennials

Anita/Jos Conference

In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely.
Titus 2:6

I participated in a conference in Jos, Nigeria which had the theme of “Keys to Winning with the Millennials” recently. The conference discussed generational differences going back to the Silent Generation who were born between 1915 and 1945. From there, they described uniqueness of the Boomers, Generation X, Y and Z. I joked that I was so old that I should be Generation “A”.

My presentation included a study of the Millennials and now Generation Z and highlighted the differences between them (and there are differences). The audience had about 75 people including at least 25 millennials. Most were pastors or church leaders from Nigeria and surrounding countries.

One of the best sessions at the conference was given by a panel of five millennials. One of them was John Mark Hopson, a young man I have been meeting with in Pinehurst for the past year. This year, he had a role in leading the worship sessions, as well as participating in the panel discussion. I thought he added a lot to the discussion and he grew a lot from the responsibility.

The millennials desire to be actively heard, but that in many cases, they are often shut out from participation in their churches. They are about to be the largest single population segment in the U.S., and to an extent, they feel they are mis-understood and often marginalized.

What they were really saying is that they want to participate with other generations in their church, but that they often don’t have the opportunity. On the flip side, the church (generically) is trying to figure out how to connect with this digital generation. Some ideas of “keys” came up which bear mentioning.

Sitting in a church and listening to a sermon that lasts more than 10 minutes is passé. The next generation doesn’t have the attention span to stay engaged, and most millennials will soon be on their phones texting or on an App like Snapchat.

Some things that look promising, but the church has to creatively embrace them. Media has already embraced millennials: many news programs have segments that focus on millennials – often showing YouTube videos sent in by millennials.

John Mark discussed something that a pastor did in our church. Our senior pastor realized that there were no real offerings aimed at the millennials. That was a need that was not being met.

He decided to form a small group of millennials at his house. They had a meal that millennials provided by each of them bringing an ingredient. The participants scattered around his house in small groups. Instead of teaching a bible study, he gave the millennials the right to choose their topics. Instead of being a lecturer, he became a facilitator by guiding the discussion to keep it on track.

It has been a success. Millennials learn best by collaborating. They like to be able to discuss an issue, and not be lectured to. The study has now advanced so that some of the topic presentation and preparation is now being turned over to the millennials. The pastor, as leader, becomes even more passive. They love it, and it has already impacted a lot of lives.

The challenge here is to reach and engage the next generation. One takeaway from the conference is not the “what” to discuss, but the “how” to deliver it. I will address some of these ideas in future posts.

MENTOR TAKEAWAY: One thing that has never gone out of style is mentoring, and the next generation are crying out for mature adults to invest in their lives. You can make a big difference, but you also need to encourage others to join you as mentors.

PICTURE: This is a picture with Anita Nkwete Etanga, a millennial who lives in Cameroon, and I’ve known for 3 years although this was the first time we spent more than 12 minutes together after we first met in Limbe.

FURTHER STUDY: Here is a YouTube of one of my presentations on Millennials: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOUp42rgVtE&t=14s

WORSHIP: One of the songs we sang at the conference was !0,000 Reasons by Mat Redman.
COMMENT: I would be delighted at comments on this or any other post. You can comment by clicking on the icon at the top of the page or emailing me at otterpater@nc.rr.com. SUBSCRIBE: You can receive an email notice of each post by clicking on the icon at the top right corner of the site (www.mentorlink.wordpress.com) and entering your email address.

 

 

Commitment

commitment

A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and two are united into one. Genesis 2:24

 A recent meeting with millennial has prompted me to think about this topic. He is 29 and has worked for the disaster relief team for Samaritan’s Purse. As a consequence, his life has been a little unpredictable. He gets assignments when disasters occur. Obviously, no one can schedule a disaster, so he was on call, waiting to be deployed.

We started meeting almost two years ago. I’m not even sure how we got introduced. He was living in Raleigh on his own and trying to figure out his career path. He admitted he was having a hard time making hard decisions. He is a typical millennial in his desire to have a career that makes an impact and is fulfilling .

Fast forward to last week when we got together in Raleigh.  It was a great time together. He was back to square one on his career quest but had made big advancements in other areas. He signed a lease for an apartment, and said it was hard to make that kind of long-term commitment.

He has started dating a girl – something neither he nor she had done before. It’s an exciting time in his life.  He is still searching for that perfect job that he can commit to. I look forward to joining him on that journey.

My mentee’s plight is typical for millennials who characteristically have difficulty making life decisions.  Some of it is a fear of failure or making the wrong choice. Just having so many options almost paralyzes them which is one of the reasons that they have such an extended adolescence, sometimes into their early 30’s.

One of the marks of adulthood is forming a committed relationship. Another mark is finding work, which involves a commitment. Signing a lease is a commitment, too. It takes some amount of courage to say to a landlord that I want to rent my apartment and I am willing to be financially responsible for the rent.

Kelly Williams Brown, the author of Adulting: How to Become  a Grown-up  in 535 Easy(ish) Steps, wrote this about millennials becoming an adult: “All of a sudden you’re out in the world and you have this insane array of options but you don’t know which you should take.”

As I have written before, the transition from adolescent to adult has been blurred in recent years. It is no longer just determined by age. Maturity is marked by a number of factors which are helpful to know when interacting with millennials.

As I reflected on my conversations with millennials, I wonder whether the inability to make a long-term commitment is a factor in the declining marriage rate. Over half of all couples are living together before they get married.  Of course, that is assuming they do get married.

It makes one wonder what level of commitment it takes to form a strong marriage. I have lots of thoughts on that topic since this month I will celebrate my 52ndanniversary. Over time, the marriage vows have been culturally dumbed down. It is now often considered a “tradition” or a statement of good intentions.

As Tony Dungy suggests, to many people it means “We’ll try this relationship out.  As long as my spouse is doing what I expect, as long as he or she is fulfilling my needs, then I’ll show love and respect. But if not, I’ll move on.”

Marriage is a long-term commitment. Finding a job, signing a lease or playing a team sport is more temporal. Those obligations have finite limits.

While commitment is important in temporary relationships, it is even more so in marriage. When you take a vow “for better or for worse” you need to understand that the “better” might come after the “worse”.

In financial or career commitments, life happens in sometimes unpredictable ways. What you thought you were committing to may not turn out the way you thought it would.

Uncertainty may be a stumbling block for millennials. As Kevin DeYoung recommends, sometimes it’s best to get off the sidelines and Just Do Something.

The challenge is that my mentee is not the only millennial challenged in making long-term decisions. Many face making life decisions or career choices and they are often reluctant to make a commitment. It may be fear of the unknown, but a mentor can be beneficial in the decision process.

MENTOR TAKEAWAY: Providing input and being a sounding board for the next generation as they transition into adulthood. It may be one of the most important contributions you can make to your mentee.

WORSHIP:  Listen to Chris Tomlin sing Take My Life (and Let it Be) reminding us that God is in control if we permit Him.

COMMENT:  I would be delighted at comments on this or any other post. You can comment by clicking on the icon at the top of the page or emailing me at otterpater@nc.rr.comSUBSCRIBE:  You can receive an email notice of each post by clicking on the icon at the top right corner of the site (www.mentorlink.wordpress.com)  and entering your email address.

 

 

Evicted

goodbye

By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken  Genesis 3:19

Recently, the parents of a 30-year-old son sued in court to evict him from the basement of their house in New York. He admitted in court that he didn’t help around the house and had no job. He lived there rent-free for 8 years. His parents finally started writing him letters giving him notice that he needed to leave their house, or they would have him removed. He ignored those letters.

He admitted he never helped with any household expenses, chores or the maintenance of the premises and that this is “simply a component of the living agreement.”

He planned to support himself but that “it’s not something that’s going to come together tomorrow.”  Gee, you would think 8 years would be enough, but maybe that’s just me.

I guess we all don’t want to grow up when others support our lifestyle. He said staying in his parent’s house was “trying to do what’s best for me.” I think to myself what he is saying is: “it’s all about me”.

He denied that being an “entitled millennial” saying that “they” were more liberal than he was. The interviewer told him a millennial is determined by the year you were born, not on your values or views.

I find this story extreme, yet it reinforces my observation that extended adolescence is a real issue to a large segment of millennials.  Some 15% of millennials live with their parentsuntil their early 30’s. Only 5% of those still living at home are unemployed, so having a job is not entirely the issue.

Many don’t want to take responsibility for their lives and they defer making decisions. They are perfectly comfortable sponging of their parents. On the flip side, parents are co-dependents in this process. Parents are reluctant to tell their offspring that they need to get out of the nest and get on with their lives.

My Dad made that clear to me when I was 16. He said that he felt his job as a father was to help me get an education and that he would help with that for as far as I wanted to go. After that, it was up to me. Period. When I completed my education, the support was over.

I had no expectation after graduation of getting more financial help. Staying with my parents was totally beyond consideration. His advice was very biblical. Sadly, many millennials come from a single parent home, and they have no father in their life to provide this kind of input.

God’s economy is based on the work ethic. It goes back to the passage in Genesis 3:19, where man was commanded to work for a living.  It’s a biblical and social construct that has worked for many thousands of years, or at least until now.

Mike Rowe, a San Francisco media commentator, was interviewed on  television   Rowe gives away “work ethic scholarships”. He has given away $5 million in the last 5 years.

Rowe lamented that it was increasingly hard to find someone who is willing to actually work for his scholarship. The demands aren’t that difficult – agreeing to write a paper and do a video. But for some, it’s too hard.

Tony Compolo, in his the book “Who Switched the Price Tags”,  describes the pampering model of parenting which evolved during the last century.

Instead of helping them transition to being responsible adults, they cater to their children’s interests, often to their detriment. As Compolo says, we have raised a generation that doesn’t want to become adults, and you can’t really blame them.

In the New York eviction case, the parents finally realized their error of letting their son take no responsibility for his own well-being. Sadly, they had to go to court to make their son do what he should have done 8 years before on his own. I would describe this as an extreme example of “tough love”.

The challenge is that many millennials are tainted by their upbringing. As someone said, they have been dealt a bad hand. They need help, and that help can come from different parenting, or, more likely, from a mentor who will take them under their wing and join their journey in life.

 MENTOR TAKEAWAY:  Most adolescents tune out their parents in their early teens. Just ask any parent. But mentors have an ability to be heard and are able to speak into their lives in a way that their parents cannot. That’s your opportunity today.

FURTHER STUDY:  Pew Researchon Millennials living at home.

WORSHIP:  Listen to Bethel Music sing “You Make Me Brave

COMMENT:  I would be delighted at comments on this or any other post. You can comment by clicking on the icon at the top of the page or emailing me at otterpater@nc.rr.comSUBSCRIBE:  You can receive an email notice of each post by clicking on the icon at the top right corner of the site (www.mentorlink.wordpress.com)  and entering your email address.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make Your Bed

bed-2453293_1920
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens. Ecclesiastes 3:1

The famous first line from the book by Rick Warren titled Purpose Driven Life is “It’s not about you”. The book has sold millions of copies which underscores how desperate people are to find their own purpose in life.

That message seems to have gotten lost on millennials, who have been called entitled, self-absorbed, and even narcissistic.  Mind you, not all millennials are like that, but in general, the next generation is more concerned with “me” than “you”.

They have company. The Boomer Generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) were called the “Me Generation”,  but the millennials are called the Me Me Me Generation.  Some attribute this “Me Me Me” focus to how they were raised.

Millennials were told they were special and that they could do anything, even when they weren’t.  They received participation awards when their actual achievements lagged.

The idea of this style of parenting was to instill in their children positive values and self-esteem. Millennials learned to cherish accolades over actual achievement. That background sets them on a collision course because, once they get a job, achievement, not accolades, is important.

I have pondered how do you take the millennials from being selfish to being selfless? I have some ideas, of course, but I don’t have a corner on the market. If you are a mentor, just your presence in their life is an example of serving others.

Motivating them is always a challenge. Admiral McRaven, a former Navy Seal, gave a commencement speechat the University of Texas in 2014 which is excellent. He distilled his address into a book entitled Make Your Bedwhich gives 10 principles that could change lives.

His first principle is, of course, is “If you want to change your life and maybe the world – start by making your bed.”

In his commencement speech, he notes that the average human will meet around 10,000 people in a lifetime. It would be too much to expect that you can impact all 10,000 people. But if you consider impacting just 10 people, and each one of them changed the lives of another 10 people, in five generations, you will have changed the lives of 800 million people.

I love this illustration. It is an example of how Jesus built his Kingdom. He didn’t start with 10,000 people in an auditorium.  He invested in 12 men, who invested in 12 men, and so on.

Tyler Bonin, a Duke university graduate, wrote good advice in the Wall Street Journal recently. His advice to new college graduates was not the usual platitudes of “take risks” or “be courageous”.  Instead, he admonishes graduates to “Start Mopping”.

His rationale is that millennials often don’t want to get their hands dirty due to their sense of entitlement. He started in his first job doing the messy ordinary things like cleaning bathrooms, and his managers noticed his work ethic and promoted him.

His advice is condensed to this: “Do the job that nobody wants, because, believe it or not, somebody appreciates it.” He ends with something I believe is important: “Volunteer to learn and provide value to others.”

I have encouraged my mentees to be involved with others through volunteering, mentoring or other activities where the object is not about them. A short-term mission trip is also an excellent way of opening their eyes to the needs of others.

Our challenge is to help the next generation find ways to become selfless and overcome their selfishness. Getting to this mindset may be one of the chief tasks of mentors. Getting them to look beyond themselves is a critical component to this task.

MENTOR TAKEAWAY:  Mentors are in a key position to encourage their mentees to be selfless by volunteering. There is a huge amount of satisfaction to be gained by helping others.

FURTHER STUDY: Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life” is available at Amazon.

High School Commencement Addresstelling graduates from High School “You are not special”.

Make Your Bedby Admiral McRaven is available from Amazon.

WSJ Essay: “My Advice to Graduates: Start Mopping

WORSHIP:  Listen to Paul Baloche sing Today is the Day reminding us that today is a good time to start mentoring the next generation.

COMMENT:  I would be delighted at comments on this or any other post. You can comment by clicking on the icon at the top of the page or emailing me at otterpater@nc.rr.comSUBSCRIBE:  You can receive an email notice of each post by clicking on the icon at the top right corner of the site (www.mentorlink.wordpress.com)  and entering your email address.

 

Digital Boredom

bored

Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. Proverbs 4:1

Generation Z  has been called “Digital Natives”. Being connected digitally is all they have ever known. Previous generations didn’t grow up with smartphones or tablets in their hands.

Ninety percent were on a tablet or phone as preschoolers. Some think children are getting too much social media too soon.  There are an estimated 7.5 million social media users under the age of 13, despite an age limit of 13 to get an account.

Generation Z – those born roughly between 1998 and 2010 – may be getting jaded on things digital. According Taylor Lorenz, “Many have had smartphones since elementary, if not middle school. They’ve grown up with high-speed internet, laptops, and social media.”

Lorenz describes a Gen Z person as having the capability to sit in a doctor’s waiting room and being able to check email, Instagram, Twitter and play Angry Birds. But they are now experiencing a new kind of boredom which she describes as “Phone Boredom”.

That’s news to me. One would have thought that the connection to technology at their finger-tips would have killed boredom as we know it. Well, apparently not.

It reminds me of when I grew up when television was labeled the “boob tube” and teachers and librarians scrambled to compete with TV sets. Now, YouTube and Netfllix have replaced television for passive, often mindless, entertainment.

Previous generations may have scrolled through TV channels or music channels, but today’s teens may open or close 20 to 30 apps, hoping that something or anything will catch their attention. “Phone boredom occurs when you’re technically ‘on your phone’ but you are still bored out of your mind,” according to Taylor Lorenz.

Generation Z is already changing from the millennials when it comes to Apps. Twenty-five percent of them left Facebook in 2014, long before privacy issues were known. Their taste in social media has now gravitated to Snapchat, Secret and Whisper. Millennials, on the other hand, use Facebook to post anything and everything about their lives with little concern about the consequences.

As a result, Gen Z tend to be more private, and the millennials more self-absorbed, so that posting selfies is the norm.

While they use the internet for school work, 41% of Generation Z spends 3 hours a day on a screen on non-schoolwork related activities. According to Tim Elmore, “being online is where they learn, where they shop, where they connect with others, where they entertain themselves, and where they play.”

This shift has consequences. Chief among them is spending more time indoors, leading to a more sedentary life.  The sedentary lifestyle has led to 16% of Generation Z being overweight or obese, a number that has tripled since 1980.

Another 11% have been diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) which is higher than any previous generation. More kids have trouble sitting still and staying focused. According to Tim Elmore, “kids mental ‘filters’ have reduced their attention spans from 12 seconds in 2000 to only 6 seconds in 2015.”

You would think with the variety activities at their fingertips, it would be hard to get bored.  But bored they are, only this time from a new source: technology.

Listening to music tops the usage with 82%, followed by playing games and taking photos (76% each), texting (74%) and finally, videos (72%). This is from a study of 4,000 teens in 8 countries around the world. 48% of Gen Z checked their phone at least 15 times an hour. 24% checked it at least 30 or more.

Most members of Gen Z find high-speed internet more important than having a good bathroom. They won’t have to wait long, since it is predicted that the internet speed will double by 2022, just 4 years away.

These studies show that the life of the Digital Native is a mixed bag. The positive side of the coin permits them to research information faster.  The downside: being always “on” and connected socially has led to anxiety, depression, cyber-bullying and a sedentary life leading to obesity, and yes, even boredom.

Our challenge is to reach Gen Z and encourage them to look beyond the smartphone in their hand for entertainment.  Encourage them to put their phones down and be physically active, even if it is just taking 30-minute walks.  Exercise is an antidote for depression, by the way.  Encourage them to read books, not just listen to audio books. These habits can be life changing.

MENTOR TAKEAWAY: Generation Z are open to mentoring. There is an opportunity to reach out to them while they are still in high school.  Encouraging them to adopt healthy lifestyles (both physical and spiritual) can be incredibly valuable and life-changing.

 FURTHER STUDY:

  1. Taylor Lorenz on “Phone Boredom”.
  2. 7 Generation Z Statistics Every Adult Should Know from Tim Elmore.
  3. An article on Generation Z and Obesity:
  4. Information on Generation Z’s social media preferences: by Adweek.
  5. Study of Generation Z’s technology habits.

RESOURCES:

A parent’s experience with an ADHD child and resources to help.

WORSHIP:  Listen to Paul Baloche sing Today is the Day reminding us that today is a good time to start mentoring the next generation.

COMMENT:  I would be delighted at comments on this or any other post. You can comment by clicking on the icon at the top of the page or emailing me at otterpater@nc.rr.com.

SUBSCRIBE:  You can receive an email notice of each post by clicking on the icon at the top right corner of the site (www.mentorlink.wordpress.com)  and entering your email address.