So how do we effectively empower Digital Natives to lead their generation and beyond? I want to share 3 lessons that I’ve learned from my experience with these type of mentoring/discipling relationships.
Our mentoring must be R E V I V I N G
While the mode of communicating with might change, a message of the hope cannot. Young people today are hit with a never-ending barrage of doom and gloom. The digital revolution means that bad news is streamed live and in color. The questioning of hope and the dimming of dreams is a natural response. A vital role of the mentor is to revive flagging hope and to rekindle dwindling fires.
Author and speaker, Zoe Wail, in an article, 3 Ways to Engender Hope Among Youth who Fear for the Future, states, "It shouldn’t be surprising that many young people feel hopeless. Not only are they bombarded with news about looming catastrophes, but they also see little being done to transform unsustainable and inhumane systems, and few of them are learning how to be a solutionary.” She offers these suggestions to mentors: 1. Engage youth in solutionary thinking and action. Help them think about finding solutions, not just identifying problems. 2. Remind young people about the progress that has been made. Point them to positive changes that have already been made. 3. Share positive news and be careful not to inundate youth with bad news. Expose them to success and positive news to help balance out the negativity. I recognize that not everyone reading this blog shares my faith journey and I understand and respect that. But it is my faith that gives me hope and gives hope for the world. I recently wrote an an article that articulates why I believe that the answer to whatever the question asked, is still the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can read that article here.
Our mentoring must be R I G H T E O U S
In a world of fake news, celebrity culture, and manufactured identities, Truth and authenticity is of vital importance to digital natives. Having all of the answers is not nearly as important as being real, trustworthy and transparent.
Our mentoring must be R E L A T I O N A L
Digital Natives desperately desire community. This is why social media platforms that allow them to see and be seen are so popular with them. But while they are obsessively connected, they are relationally shallow. They struggle with the art of building deep, healthy and lasting relationships because, very often, it is not something that they have witnessed or experienced. They need for older generations to walk with them and model what this is supposed to look like.
Also, while Digital Immigrants (my generation and older) may have submitted (for the most part) to the authority figure edict of, "because I said so", Natives need the "why" behind the "what" and the "how".
These two factors mean that discipleship - the process of walking in relationship with others to teach and model for them how to adopt the principles, practices, and priorities of Christ - must be the primary tool for reaching, transforming and empowering the next generation. It is the relationship that heals.
In Part 6 we will examine why becoming Diversity and becoming "multiculturally adept” is so important for "Ark-building” leadership development.
🗣Let’s talk about it!
What else needs to be added (or deleted from) to my list of important factors in mentoring the next generation?
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