Why your mentor is not good enough.

This image and other images of emerging adults are available on our website.

You may have a good mentor.

You may have a great mentor.

You may have the world’s best mentor.

However, I have bad news for you.  Your mentor is not good enough.

I believe in mentoring relationships.  Well, I actually believe in symbiotic relationships which better expresses the mutual benefits of the relationship.  I also prefer the word discipleship (2 Timothy 2:2), but since neither of those words are trending, I will stick with the word mentor (imagine your favorite sad emoji – here).

Here are four reasons why your mentor is not good enough.

The instability of life.



The geographical instability of Emerging Adults causes instability in many other areas of life including: income, living situations, and relationships.  Distance affects our relationships, and it doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder.  While relationships can continue long distance, you can’t get a hug online.  Make sure you have multiple healthy relationships in case your life (or their life) makes a sudden left turn.

Your mentor is not fully equipped to meet all your needs.

I am high maintenance.  Ask my mentors.  Ask my wife.  Ask my friends.

The good news for them is that I am worth it.

And so are you.

One individual cannot possibly meet all your needs. Even the best mentors are limited in their own skills, knowledge, and bandwidth. There are people who perform some elements of what mentors do, while failing altogether in other elements.  (Parks 2000)  We all have various needs which may include:  social, vocational, relational, financial, and academic. Take time to reflect and understand the depths of your needs and identify several individuals who can support you.

Your mentor doesn’t have the time to meet your needs.

We all live under time constraints, and have a limited network of relationships.  While our mentor may want to spend time with you, other issues may rightly take precedence in their life.  No single relationship can satisfy the casting needs for the drama of our becoming. (Parks 2000)  We are all needy – at times in life. We need regular support, and putting that pressure on one individual to meet your needs moves a mentor towards burnout. If you always see Jane on the weekends, but she works during the week, maybe you can locate someone who has a similar schedule as you to connect with during the week.

Your mentor cannot give you a proper concept of community.

Mentoring should not simply be done exclusively in coffee shops, but should extend into everyday, dynamic contexts.  While a mentor can help you process the issues in life, you also need mentors with whom you can experience life together.  According to Parks, places that typically represent the power of mentoring communities in young adult lives are higher education, professional education, workplaces, travel, the natural environment, families, and religion.  (Parks 2000)  In a community setting, mentors can see the individual’s behavior, and observe how others respond.

Your mentor is not enough.  This is the purpose of mentoring community and the beauty of the body of Christ.  A church which seeks to build intergenerational relationships is naturally designed to fulfill this purpose (Read More).

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Managing Director of EA Resources, and the Founder of the EA Network – a Facebook community focused on those who minister to emerging adults.


Running from Adulthood? Powerful Music Video by Ruth B

J. M. Barrie first used Peter Pan, the character who never wanted to grow up first appeared in The Little White Bird (1902) written by J.M. Barrie.  The character was based on J.M. Barrie’s older brother who died in a ice-skating accident.  The family considered him to be the boy who always remain the same age. 

As the series progressed, a division developed with Peter Pan running from Captain Hook and the pirates in Neverland.  The pirates of Neverland are the only adults, and represent growing older.  The Lost Boys are his tribe of friends who run from the pirates.

In this video from Ruth B., she describes the how she had one true friend as a child – Peter Pan.

Here is the link – please listen closely to the words. 

As a society, we must ask ourselves and emerging adults the following questions.

  • As adults, do we welcome them into adult communities?
  • How do older adults show care for emerging adults?
  • How do we portray adulthood?
  • Is adulthood something that emerging adults want to achieve?  Do they know how to achieve it?
  • How do adults describe the challenges and behavior of emerging adulthood?
  • How do adults show empathy and support for emerging adults?

These are great questions for any church or community that is seeking to become intergenerational.

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


Four Myths About College You Should Reject – Tim Elmore

photo credit: ISC Orientation Week 2nd Meeting Fall 2011 via photopin (license)

I found an interesting article by Tim Elmore.  I think that it is a great read for both parents and emerging adults.

Here is a link to the full article!

Myth One: You Must Attend That Big Name College.

Myth Two: A College Degree Is Always a Good Investment.

Myth Three: A College Loan Is the Best Way to Pay for My Degree.

Myth Four: You Must Have a Bachelor’s Degree to Earn a Middle-class Salary.

One other myth about college… read here.



We millennials lack a roadmap to adulthood – by Zach Stafford

The title of this article is what caught my attention because I do believe that many parents fail to teach their children what it means to be an adult.  However, it is not just parents who should carry the blame for the delayed development of adolescents that is prevalent in our society.

I believe that the road to adulthood has become more complex in our modern, technology-driven, diverse society.  In spite of new challenges that emerging adults face,

I believe that the exit ramp to adulthood is clear and achievable.  (Click here to read my three developmental tasks of adulthood.)

Here is Zach’s article which I found on theGuardian website.

Life is often referred to as a “highway”, to borrow from Tom Cochrane, and for my generation that hasn’t changed.

“Adulthood today lacks a well-defined roadmap”, writes Steven Mintz, in his forthcoming book The Prime of Life. “Today, individuals must define or negotiate their roles and relationships without clear rules or precedents to follow”.

Here is the rest of the article.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit designed to equip parents and churches to understand and minister to emerging adults.  He is also the founder of the EA Network, a group whose purpose is to connect those who work with emerging adults.


An Example of Generational Mediation – Tattoos

© 2009 Lisa Padilla, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

We met at my favorite spot – McDonalds, the home of free wifi and endless sweet tea.  The man immediately began to open up about his son, and how proud he was of his academic achievement and occupational accomplishments.  At twenty years old, his son was not a slacker or self-absorbed like most other Millennials (if you believe the media).  He was already financially self-sufficient, and held down a career job.  But in spite of his fatherly pride, something had robbed this father of the ability to enjoy his son.

His son was the last of four children, and had been born to the father much later in life.  The father expressed how often he struggled to understand his son in ways that he did not have with his other children who were almost ten years older.

tattooHe had asked his son to refrain from tattoos until he was twenty-one.  The father’s reasoning included the under-developed brain of emerging adults, his spiritual viewpoint of tattoos, and their long-term impact upon the individual’s body.   Although he couldn’t imagine how anyone would want a tattoo, he would allow his child this option at the proper age.

The son ignored his father’s wishes, and the father’s disappointment was obvious.  He was trying not to take his son’s decision personally, but it still hurt.  The reasons not to get a tattoo were so clear to him.  Why would anyone get a tattoo when “style” change so frequently?  He used the word “style” in reference to tattoos several times during our discussion.

I asked what he meant by “style” and he said.  “In our world clothing styles change every season, and hair styles change once every couple of months.  Why would you get a permanent tattoo?”

While growing up, I often heard people associate tattoos as a trend.  With a larger portion of the population getting inked in today’s world, few would categorized tattoos as a style or fad that changes change with time.  In my discussions with emerging adults, the decision to get a tattoo often reflected a life event, core belief, or part of their identity (more – Sacred Ink).

They are the opposite of a fad, but tattoos often reflect a person’s longing for permanence and search for uniqueness.  The process of globalization has made it even more difficult for people to establish their own place in our world.  Tattoos are a simple way for humans to create a marker of their identity.

As I began to speak, there was a beautiful moment as for the first time, the father understood his son’s perspective.  We sat in a quiet moment.  When our time ended, he turned to me and said, “I have learned a lot.  We should talk again.”

David - Prof 2Another day in the life of a generational mediator.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit that seeks to equip churches and parents to minister to emerging adults.


When Does A Boy Become A Man In His Mother’s Eyes?

I recently came across this well-written article, and I wanted to share it with my readers.  The author, Melissa Schultz, is a mother who is transitioning from a full house into an empty nest.  She shares her mother’s perspective on what it means to be a man.

Here is the article.


The positives of this article:

  1.  It doesn’t link manhood to various traditional, yet lacking markers – like having children, making money, or growing a beard.
  2. Great portrayal of a mother’s struggle to allow her children to grow up.  “And then, even then, when we see our sons as men, sometimes, we still secretly see them as our little boys. Because we want to. Not because they are.”
  3. Gives several inadequate markers of manhood, but doesn’t fully answer the question, “What makes a man?”  Her answer is, “For me, a boy becomes a man when he lets himself fall in love. It says he’s ready and willing to discover who he really is, to take risks; to care for someone other than himself.”     While the ability to fall in love can be a mark of knowing who they really are (self-discovery), take risks (courage), and caring for others (self-less), these characteristics are still greatly lacking.

I think that all emerging adults regularly ask themselves if they are truly an adult.  As children, they long every day to arrive, and yet often never fully feel satisfied in their arrival.  These uncertain feelings can lead our children to a lack of confidence and confusion.

While we can never adequately define adulthood, we can work to give our children the confidence that they need in their journey.  During my research, one of the powerful interview moments that I had was when one young man told me that he knew he was a man because, “My dad told me so.”

Take time today to encourage your children in their pursuit of adulthood.  May you be a channel of confidence that they need to take the next step.

Here are some additional articles that encourage you (or someone you love) in this pursuit.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit designed to encourage emerging adults and their parents.

X-Men and Emerging Adulthood – Entrance Exam

I found this image on the web, and wanted to share it with my readers.  Other than being an Extreme Marvel Fan, I love how this comic defines the importance of becoming autonomous.

Act for Yourselves - X-menAutonomy is the ability to make decisions and deal with the consequences.  Here are a few questions to test whether or not you are able to think and act for yourselves.

1.  Can I tell someone “no” without worrying whether or not they still like me?

2.  Do I have a clear understanding of who I am, and what I like (personal identity) which is distinct from those around me?

3.  Can I make decisions without asking everyone around me?

4.  Am I afraid to make decisions because I fear my decision will leave me alone or isolated from others?

5.  Do I seek friends who look, act, and sound exactly like me?

6.  Do I always wait to see what everyone else is doing before making a decision or expressing an opinion?


7.  Do I have trouble making decisions about what I like or want to do?

8.   Can I tell someone my opinion without stress?

9.  Am I able to withstand peer pressure?

10.  Do I enjoy diversity, or does it make me uncomfortable?

Establishing your personal autonomy is crucial for your development into adulthood.



I wish that my journey into autonomy would have also granted me access into the X-men.  I guess the good news is that I never have to wear a spandex suit.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit designed to encourage emerging adults and their parents.

What’s Causing Our Millennials to fail becoming adults?

Here is an article that does a good job addressing the economic reasons behind the delayed development of emerging adults.

However, there are many more reasons than simply economics that are affecting our adolescents’ development. In this article, I address the various causes of the delayed development of our adolescents.

Please note that moving out of your parents house, is not a sign of adulthood. At times in life, it might be a wiser decision to live with your parents due to your financial situation.  Rather than adulthood being defined by an economic indicator, our society is in need of better marks of adulthood.

Adulthood is defined by three tasks: discovering vocation, establishing autonomy, and developing community.

If you would like for me to come to your church, school, or organization to talk about the delayed development of adolescents, and what can be done, contact me at gdavid@earesources.org.


What is the eVACuation Plan for your children?

packed car


This winter’s weather has definitely been difficult.  Most of the United States has been under extremely cold weather conditions, it is currently snowing again in my home state of Minnesota.

One city that made recent news is Atlanta.  As a snow storm entered their city, the city officials did not adequately prepare for an evacuation of their city.  City officials knew the storm was coming, but failed to plan.  This lack of planning caused widespread confusion and chaos.

As a parent, do you have an evacuation plan for your emerging adult?  The day is coming when they will need to embrace adulthood.  Do you know what it will take to prepare them to leave the home in a healthy manner.

The primary goal for parents should not be to have an empty nest.  It is also not always more healthy or godly for emerging adults to move out.  In Bible times, families often lived under one roof.  It is only among affluent nations in more recent times that moving out has become so tied with reaching adulthood.

Becoming an adult is more than moving out of their parents’ home, Emerging adults need to accomplish three tasks:  Vocation, Autonomy, Community.  In order to achieve a successful evacuation from your home, here are three areas to develop your E-VAC plan (Vocation, Autonomy, Community).

1.  Vocation

Blank Road SignThe childhood question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  becomes central in the mind of emerging adults.  Vocation is the means by which the individual fulfills purpose in their life.  Emerging adults are seeking to discover vocation that gives them purpose and provides a place in the bigger picture of life. 


Parents must step forward to prepare them for the journey ahead.  How are we equipping our child to find purpose and provide for themselves?

Parents need to ask themselves how they can assist their child to move forward towards discovering their vocation.  Providing them opportunities for skills development, occupational exploration, work experience, and role models are a few things that parents can do to help them develop.

Other parents do too much.  If you are filling out job applications, then you are doing too much.  You have crossed the line, if you are filling out their college applications.  There is a balance to be found between directing their educational and vocational decisions, and yet letting them stand autonomous which is our second area of development for a healthy evacuation.

2.  Autonomy

The second developmental task of adulthood is to establish autonomy.  Autonomy can be defined as the ability to make one’s own decisions and to deal with the consequences.  An individual must break their dependency upon other humans (usually parents, but it could be anyone), and make decisions that are their own.

Parents need to allow their child’s autonomy, and to encourage them as they develop.  They can do this through releasing children to make decisions, working alongside them in the decision-making process, allowing children to pay for the consequences of the decisions.

3.  Community

Community is essential to becoming an adult, and an individual’s further development.  Western culture tends to support independent living, but biblical principles support inter-dependent living. God created humans for community with Him, and with one another.

Parents should seek to equip adolescents with the skills to seek and develop community.  These social skills are essential for the maturation process.  They can do this through forcing children out of their social comfort zones, placing them in intergenerational environments, teaching them social skills.

Don’t be caught off guard.  Get your E-VAC plan in place.

If you are interested in hosting a seminar for your church or school, on how to develop your own E-VAC plan, please contact Dr. G. David Boyd at gdavid@earesources.org.

The Loss of Rites of Passage in Western Society. Will they be missed?

Adulthood Ahead SignAdolescents and Emerging adults need to know what is expected of them as they approach adulthood.  They are constantly asking themselves and others, “Are we there yet?”  Just as mile markers along the interstate can monitor your progression towards your destination, so can rites of passage encourage emerging adults by confirming that they are going the right way.

Unfortunately, many of our culture’s rites of passage have been lost or outdated in our fast-paced, changing society.  There is a desperate need for rites of passage to be reinvented and reintroduced within Western culture.  Ronald Grimes declares the current lack of rites of passage to be an urgent global problem:  “The absence of rites of passage leads to a serious breakdown in the process of maturing as a person” (Grimes).  Ronald Grimes, Professor of Religion and Culture at Wilfrid Laurier University says that transitions between life stages, “can be negotiated without the benefit of rites, but in their absence, there is a greater risk of speeding through the dangerous intersections of the human life course.”  As adolescents take steps towards maturity, their steps need to be noticed and celebrated by the community around them.

Rites of passage show the pathway towards adulthood, and can serve as motivators towards adulthood.

Many adolescents are motivated by milestones that require defined work (for example, obtaining a driver’s license or graduating from high school).  Few adolescents complain about practicing driving, or memorizing traffic laws because they know that they will soon receive the legal right to drive and the freedom that comes with it.  Emerging adults need to have definable achievements and freedoms before them that will motivate them to push forward.

While some rites of passage are earned, others happen naturally (the beginning of puberty, or reaching legal drinking age).  These “natural” rites of passages within our society have been minimized, or celebrated in unhealthy ways.    Without adults taking the initiative in these areas, rites of passage have been left to be developed by those experiencing them.  Grimes says, “Initiation in Western society often takes this postmodern, peer-driven form—adolescents initiating adolescents, sometimes compulsively, unconsciously, and violently” (Grimes).  I believe that this problem is illustrated in the movie 21 and Over.  As a young man approaches his 21 birthday, his friends believe it is their moral obligation to give him the experience that our culture requires – one filled with inappropriate and destructive behavior.

Rites of passage signal changes within the life of the adolescent to their community.

“Experiencing a rite of passage allows young people to let go of childlike behavior and to begin taking on adult responsibilities and their accompanying consequences” (Moore).  Rites of passage signal to the individual and the community that they have changed, and are ready for autonomy and responsibility.  The community needs to be aware because their expectations on the individual changes, as well as their role within that community.

HandsRites of passage should be celebrated within a community.

Rites of passage are not important solely for the sake of the individual, but are beneficial to all involved.   I have personally been blessed by playing a role in the rites of passage for individuals.  It is an affirmation to all invited of your impact on the life of the individual.

There is a need for our families and faith communities to reintroduce rites of passage into today’s culture.  What way have you or someone you know used rites of passage with their family?  What way has your church used rites of passage with the community?


Grimes, Ronald.  Deeply into the Bone.

Moore, Walker.  Rite of passage parenting:  Four essential experiences to equip

your kids for life.