A MESSAGE TO OUR iY GRADUATES by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson
Introduction: This morning being graduation Sunday, I want to preach a message titled – “A Message to our iY Graduates.”
Ecclesiastes 1:4 “One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever.”
Overall Background: Before we go any further, we need to answer the question – “Who are the iYs?” To answer that, we need to understand the breakdown of the generations. Different research groups divide them at different ages. My information is coming from the United States Census Bureau, the Pew Research Center, and few other research sites:
- G.I. (born 1901-1928) – over 88 years, 4.5 million
- Silent (born 1929-1945), 28 million
- Baby Boomer (born 1946-1964), 75.4 million
- Generation X (born 1965-1981), 66 million
- Generation Y (born 1982-2001) 83.1 million
- Generation Z (born 2002-present) 60 million
Generation Y or Millennials (1982-2001) can be divided into 2 parts: the early between 1982-1990 and the later between 1991-2001. Generation iY are those in the latter half, ages 15-25. Unlike the older Ys, the iYs have a very different mindset. We cannot afford to ignore them or be ignorant about them any longer because they will soon be the largest demographic in the US. In fact, about half the world’s population will be 25 years old or younger, which social scientists are calling the “youth bulge.” They warn that any time there is a surge in youth population, there will also be a rise in violence. The rise in group violence in America and across the globe in recent years is proof that it has already begun! What can we do? To start with, we cannot just condemn them, lecture them, and complain about their work habits, their addiction to social media, and their attitude about life, we need to understand what made them the way they are and then offer some biblical wisdom to them and to ourselves.
Some questions to consider: Do you care about our young people? Do you care about their future and the future of our nation and our world? Keep in mind – Our success is not in what we do for ourselves in our lifetime. It is the investment we make in others after we’re gone. Moses invested in Joshua. Elijah invested in Elisha. Jesus invested in His disciples and then in Peter, James and John and then especially in Peter. Paul invested in Timothy. What impact are you making in the future? Are you saved?
To start with, let’s understand the world of the iYs:
I. IS THEIR WORLD SO DIFFERENT?
Think about the major events of the past two decades:
- Internet in the mid 90s
- Terrorism at home with the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995 and then September 11, 2001
- School shootings starting with the Columbine massacre in 1999 to the latest one on April 23, 2016 in Antigo, Wisconsin
- Biggest financial crisis in 2007 since the Great Depression
- The rise of extreme religious violence in the world, especially with ISIS recently.
- I can go on and on but the major one is the coming of smart phones, text messaging, and social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and the list goes on and on).
As much as all these events have made a significant impact on the iYs, the main impact was much closer. We are the main impact! Tim Elmore explains this in his book “Generation iY: Secrets to Connecting with Today’s Teens and Young Adults in the Digital Age” (New edition came out in 2015). He uses 4 words to describe the iYs. I’ll summarize it here:
- An Overwhelmed Generation: We’ve made decisions for them all their lives and now they’re facing the world on their own. We’ve expected the best from them constantly and now they’re too stressed to perform. 94% of students reported feeling overwhelmed by their lifestyles; 44% said they felt so depressed it was almost difficult to function; almost 10% had considered suicide in the past. This is why they try to escape reality by turning to online fantasy.
- An Overconnected Generation: We gave them technology too early, too much, and without accountability. They don’t need us anymore. They have Google and Wikipedia. They’re connected 24/7 with their peers online who are more important than real people across the room. Most of their connections are shallow but who cares. They simply go around repeating what others say, nothing new or unique.
- An Overprotected Generation: Because of the crazy lawsuits of the 80s and 90s, we have saddled them with safety seats, safety belts, and safety helmets. We’ve told them – “Don’t go anywhere. It’s not safe.” Is it any wonder that they don’t want to take any risks? Now many are also struggling with obesity and other health issues.
- An Overserved Generation: We’ve told them repeatedly – “You are special and everyone is a winner.” Guess what?! They actually believed us! They think that it’s all about them! They actually believe that the future is in their hands! They feel that their problems are the nation and world’s problems. According to a lag-time study at San Diego State University between 1975 and 2006, there has been a big climb in narcissistic tendencies among American students (2 out of 6 scored very high here). A growing number now actually have Narcissistic Personality Disorder! Every day I come across employers who are frustrated because anytime it gets a little tough, they’re gone!
So what can we do?
II. A WORD TO THE iYs
If you want to be the trendsetters among the iYs, you will have to be different from your peers. “Be an iY by age but not by attitude.” Let me suggest a few things:
- Learn to be patient not instant.
- Communicate with people face-to-face.
- Remember, you have to earn it. You are not entitled to it.
- Listen to adults and not just to peers.
- Don’t listen to adults who have ulterior motive.
- Be slow to tear down old boundaries.
- Learn to take risks.
- Technology is no substitute to expertise.
- It’s not all about you.
- You’re not always right.
- Make Christ your Savior.
- Pray and read God’s Word daily.
III. A WORD TO THE REST OF US
It’s not enough to expect just the iYers to change, we have to do some changing as well:
- Take responsibility for where they are. We created them.
- Embrace them. Don’t constantly condemn them.
- Give them adult responsibility.
- Reward real skills and not everyone wins.
- Invest time in them by teaching life skills like budgeting, cooking, planting, and maintaining.
- Give them hope for the future.
- Pray for them.
- Make Christ your Savior.
1 Corinthians 11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
Who are you imitating and who is imitating you? Are you Saved?