The First Two Weeks

 

© 2014 Kevin Dooley, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

During the first two weeks of college, your child is facing much bigger issues than getting lost on campus, and running out of clean underwear.   Kara Powell and Chap Clark in their book Sticky Faith say, “Over and over, students have told us that the first two weeks at college are when they make key decisions about drinking and other high-risk behaviors, right along with choosing whether to go to church or to a campus ministry.”  (Powell and Clark)

In a college setting, social groups are quickly formed often based on where you live, and involvement (sport teams, music groups, or other interest groups).  The warm friendly smiles that you receive on campus while visiting, quickly fade as people are no longer looking for more friends.  Petrified of being left alone, students often make decisions based on their need for social connection.

Students quickly learn that their decisions about alcohol and other behavior will quickly ostracize them from others.  It doesn’t take too many evenings left alone in the dorm before feelings of loneliness can overwhelm even the deepest resolve.

How do you prepare a student for those first two weeks?

1.  Teach them to walk across the room and extend a hand.  Teaching your child basic skills in how to make new friends is crucial for this new phase of life.  Many adolescents face little change in their circle of friends during high school, and have forgotten how to make new friends.  Encouraging your adolescent to always be looking for new friends will help them keep their social skills, and prepare them for the future.  As a child moves away from home, emerging adults meet their first test, whether than can develop their own community.

2.  Teach them how to find a Spiritual Community.  Most adolescents have never picked out a church before.  They don’t know what questions to ask, or what to look for?  Your child might be overwhelmed by the available options, and not try.  According to Sticky Faith Research,  “40% of students feel prepared to find a new church.”  Parents need to prepare their child for find a new Christian community.

Use on-line tools to help your student check out churches around their campus.  LiveAbove.com is an outreach of the Youth Transition Network: a coalition of youth, college and military ministries working together to transition students from high school to college/career  (For more information about YTN go to www.youthtransitionnetwork.org).

3.  Remember last minute cramming, isn’t very helpful.  One emerging adult said, “I really appreciated that they didn’t give me a bunch of last minute “advice” about how to live life on my own. I feel like the drop off is not the time or place! If they want to give me life lessons, giving nagging reminders as they drop me off isn’t the best!”

It is not the absence of information that causes students to make poor decisions, it is often the lack of will.  The prophet Isaiah makes this point when he says,  “Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”   Even though you are not with them, your child will hear your voice as they are making their own decisions.

First2Weeks_v1 (1)4.  Pray, and ask others to join you during this time.  Pray for godly influences including:  friends, ministries, and other adults.  Encourage your church community to do a prayer campaign for college students during the fall as students are leaving for school.  Join our prayer campaign.

Ultimately, you have no control over the first two weeks or any week of your child’s experiences at college.  You can only surrender yourself, and your child to the Lord in prayer.  This is what makes the first two weeks so very difficult.

Resources

Powell, Kara and Chap Clark.  Sticky Faith:  Everyday ideas to build lasting faith in your kids.

Five Dos and Don’ts when dropping off your college student

Fall is upon us, and many campuses, are many schools are welcoming another record-breaking number of students.   It is a good idea for parents to have a role in the higher education of their children, but what is that role?  Are they simply there as pack mules for an over-abundance of clothes and a mini-fridge?  Should they take an active role in organizing the room and arranging their daily schedule?  For those parents who plan to drop off your student at college, here are a few things to make the trip productive and enjoyable.

1.  Talk about Expectations.

You may not know what to expect, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have expectations.  Remember that your child will also have expectations.  Make sure you discuss these expectations before you arrive.  Do they want you to spend the night nearby?   What role can siblings play (if any)?  What is important for them while you are there?  Asking good questions will set you to have a successful trip.

After you arrive, remember that their expectations might change quickly.  One emerging adult said, “Do your best to read the mood of your child.  Know when it’s time to leave (or stay), setting aside personal feelings.”   As a parent, you have learned to read your child, and if you are confused ask them.

2.  Meet the Suitemates.

While on campus, don’t focus entirely on the work of moving in, but meet those who will be living with your child.  If you are bad with names, make a list on your drive home, so when you child mentions their new friends, you will know who they are talking about.  This information is invaluable, and will provide a bridge between your worlds.

While meeting these students, one parents said, “Do not make quick judgments about peers on the dorm floor, they are placed there by God for a reason. “  There is a strong desire to share our perceptions and first impressions about those living with your child; however, parents must begin to let go and let them discern and decide who will be in their inner circle (community).

3.  Attend and See what you want.

© 2017 Hamza Butt, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Most colleges offer information sessions for parents as part of their welcoming week.  If you want to stay and see a program, that doesn’t mean your child has to go.  If you want to take a walk around campus or visit the school cafeteria, your child doesn’t have to babysit you.  As parents, it is important that you get a feel of the campus, and what their new life will be like.

4.  Pray with them – and pray for them.

Leaving a child at school is big event in your life and your child, commemorate it.  Don’t let your final words be repeated sound bytes of your timeless wisdom.  One emerging adult said, “I really appreciated that they didn’t give me a bunch of last minute advice about how to live life on my own. I feel like the drop off is not the time or place!”  So in order to avoid the last-minute advice, plan to end with a time of family prayer.  Find a private space and time to pray with and over your child.  Now this will seem weird, if you haven’t built a lifestyle of praying together, but for the spiritually connected family, this is an absolute.  Your prayers don’t end with the amen, but that part of parenting goes on forever.

5.  Control your emotions

One mother said, “I needed to remind myself that this event is truly not about me, it involved me and caused much change in my life , but was the beginning of the independent journey for my child in God’s plan.”  You will face strong emotions, and it is important to keep those emotions in check while with your child, and then process them later in private with your spouse or a friend.  One parent said that, “I manage not to dissolve into tears until we exit the parking lot.”  Your student wants to know that you love them, but most could do without the public meltdown.  One EA writes, “Although I might feel embarrassed if mom starts crying, deep down I feel loved and will cherish it.”

One emerging adult said, “I loved that my parents dropped me off with my stuff (without telling me I had too much stuff), said congratulations, snapped pictures, and took off saying ‘Time to party.’”   When asked how it affected them, she said, “It made me deal with the reality that I need to grow up and take responsibility.”

Remember that you are not the only one facing strong emotions.  Your children will face a variety of emotions including fear, excitement, joy, and sorrow.  As you leave, make sure they know you will be there – no matter what comes their way.

Remember that as you leave their side, God remains.

Top questions to ask college students before they head to school

Fall is upon us, and student will soon be packing their bags and leaving for college.  If your child is leaving, Kara Powell from the Fuller Youth Institute released this article about preparing your child for college.  Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) and a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary.

When our oldest started high school, multiple older parents told me that high school would fly by. I didn’t believe them, but now that Nathan is diving into eleventh grade, I’ve jumped on the “high school goes so fast” bandwagon.

Here is the full article! 

Pass it along to someone you know is dropping off a student this fall.

If you work with emerging adults, please join Kara and other members of the Fuller Youth Institute as members of the EA Network – a networking site on Facebook.

Other resources:

 

More Young White Evangelicals are Showing Support for Marriage Equality

Here nullis an article that came out in June – that should be of interest to those who work with Emerging Adults.   According to the Pew Research, 47% of white evangelical adults born after 1964 favor same-sex marriage, up from 29% in March 2016.

Support for marriage equality is rising among all Americans, according to two new national surveys. And despite efforts to hinder it, this sea change is also touching an important demographic within the evangelical Christian community: young people.

Young white evangelicals are increasingly showing support for same-sex marriage, according to recent surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center and PRRI. The data signals a significant departure from the overarching views of the evangelical community among younger generations.

 

Making assumptions about what emerging adults believe on any topic can be dangerous for your relationship with them.  Instead of making assumptions, get to know them, and listen to their stories, and attempt to understand the road that they have traveled.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Managing Director for EA Resources, a nonprofit that seeks to equip parents and churches to minister to emerging adults.  If Dr. Boyd can help your community, you can contact him at gdavid@earesources.org.

 

 

New Jersey Raises Smoking Age to 21 Years Old

I saw this article over the weekend, and wanted to share it with my readers.  While I am usually a strong supporter of autonomy and the right of adolescents and teens to make decisions.  When it comes to addictive substances, like tobacco, I believe this law will help emerging adults by making it illegal to smoke during later adolescence when peer pressure is so strong.

New Jersey just raised the minimum age to buy tobacco to 21, joining California and Hawaii.

The new law was signed by Gov. Chris Christie and is set to take affect on Nov. 1. The law includes the sale of all tobacco and electronic tobacco and smoking products.

New Jersey’s smoking age was already higher than most states after it previously made the minimum age to buy tobacco products 19 in 2005.

Read the entire article here.

What are your thoughts?  Do you think that your state should follow the trend?

Living with Parents – outnumber all other forms of living arrangements.

While we often hear about the growth of children living with their parents – these statistics are shocking.  The chart from Pew Research reveals the shifts in living arrangements that have occurred over the 134 years.

Broad demographic shifts in marital status, educational attainment and employment have transformed the way young adults in the U.S. are living, and a new Pew Research Center analysis of census data highlights the implications of these changes for the most basic element of their lives – where they call home. In 2014, for the first time in more than 130 years, adults ages 18 to 34 were slightly more likely to be living in their parents’ home than they were to be living with a spouse or partner in their own household.

Here is the full article.

Living with a parent is the most common young adult living arrangement for the first time on record

Here are few notes:

  • The most significant drop was among those married or cohabiting.
  • Please note the wide margin of age.  Many 18-22, may live with their parents during the summers only while not in college. The percentage rate among 18 year olds (living at home) is significantly higher than 34 year olds.
  • Education, race, and ethnicity are factors which affect the living arrangements of emerging adults.

While this might be difficult news to hear, many parents enjoy having their children back under their roof.

Maintaining a healthy relationship with your adult childwill require some adapting for both of you.

Other Resources:

 

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources, a nonprofit designed to equip parents and churches to minister to the needs of emerging adults.  If you have a question, you can reach him at gdavid@earesources.org.

Emerging Adult Ministry – Reading List

Here are some resources that I recommend for those who want to minister to emerging adults.  Our recommendations does not mean that we agree with everything stated in the book, or with all beliefs of the author.

© 2014 Brittany Stevens, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

If you want to know the first book that you should read – my top pick…

Continue reading

Why are Millennials slowly leaving the church? by Sam Eaton

The purpose of EA Resources is to provide resources to equip parents and churches to minister to the needs of emerging adults.  Many times churches turn away emerging adults because they do not understand how they think or feel about the church.  This article represents one voice of the Millennial Exodus – or those who have either left or almost left the church.  You can find more of their stories by searching under the phrase Millennial Exodus.

Here is Sam’s story.

We are already misunderstood and highly overlooked. Millennials are on a clock worked schedule and it always seems to consist of proving ourselves to people as well as being heard. Much of these unfortunate events tend to happen in schools, the work area, with family (who are not millennials) and even church.

Yes, I said church.

Read the entire article here.

This article was written by Sam Eaton.  You can find out more about Sam at his website.

Why did emerging adults not vote in the 2016? What does this mean for the Church?

In the 2016 election, 46% percent of emerging adults (18-29) voted.  This percentage was up slightly from the 2012 election.  Historically, younger Americans do not vote as much as older generations.  For example, over 70% of those over the age of 65 voted in the election.  We could say that the reason that emerging adults don’t vote is because they are all lazy and narcissistic, but that would not be true.

www.census.gov

 

I believe that young voters often do not believe that their vote will make a difference.

Democracy is built upon a belief that each individual has a voice, and that each vote matters.

I recently read an article that was discussing the recent election in the United Kingdom.  In the last election (which included the decision about the UK leaving the European Union), 43% of voters between the ages of 18-24 did not vote.  The author stated that behind each young adult, there is a story as to why they feel as if their vote did not matter.

The author states that she believes the same thing is true about the church.  She states, “If they [emerging adults] haven’t been included in decision making and leadership, if they’ve been patronized or belittled, why would they bother turning up?”  I believe that there is a correlation between the involvement of emerging adults in the institutions of government and the church.

Emerging adults are rarely allowed into places of leadership.  Emerging adults are rarely given the opportunity for their voice to be heard.

The decline of religion in the UK has been occurring for many decades, and as the decline of religion is becoming clear in the US (Millennial Exodus), we should listen and learn from them.

Unfortunately, sometimes current church leadership does not want them to vote – because they are afraid.  They are afraid of what the new generation believes.  So instead of everyone coming together to work out our differences, we simple don’t leave room for them at the table.

Instead of fear, I believe that we should respond in faith.

Without the voice and vote of emerging adults, the church suffers.

Relevant Links

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Managing Director of EA Resources.  He is the founder of the EA Network.  If he can help you and your community ministry to the emerging adults in your community, please contact him at gdavid@earesources.org.

The Millennial Exodus – An Article from South Korea

The article is entitled – Why young South Koreans are turning away from religion – Some churches are employing technology and becoming less hierarchical to try to entice and keep young members.

The article was interesting to me because it has similar features to the Millennial Exodus happening here in the United States.  According to the article, the reasons why South Koreans are leaving the faith…

  • Smartphones
  • Demanding Educational System
  • Unemployment
  • Church Hierarchy

Unfortunately, it appears that some churches are attempting to win them back by following the Western churches through hip music and pyrotechnics. 

Here are some additional resources about this topic.