Tim Elmore (see recent post) believes that many young people are reaching adulthood emotionally unstable and socially naive – due to the lies they have been told. Shame on us – not on them. We have not equipped them to face an uncertain world. Here are some of the most harmful lies we've told to Generation iY:
Lie #1: "You can be anything you want to be."
You can see signs of this popular lie on any edition of a TV reality show. The trouble is that wanting something is not the same as being able to achieve it. Desire is not the same as talent, and talent is not the same as accomplishment. Unless young people match their dreams with their actual strengths, they are doomed to failure. Telling them this lie simply sets them up for discouragement – because the truth is they can't do anything they want. None of us can.
Lie #2: "It's your choice."
We live in a culture full of options and yet this vast array of choices can be harmful. It creates a self-centred paradigm where kids grow up accustomed to having things their way. The truth is that not everything is an option in the real world. There may be only one right choice or someone else may be making the decision. That is simple reality.
Lie #3 – "You are special."
Yes, everyone is special and unique but not everyone is outstanding and extra-ordinary. That simply cannot be true of everyone … and kids soon figure this out. Some spiral down into depression while overachievers and perfectionists often buckle under the pressure that the word 'special' implies. We can serve our young people well by pointing out their strengths and by affirming them, while at the same time preparing them for the real world where not everyone will think they are special.
Lie #4 – "Every kid ought to go to college (university)."
We want students to set their sights high, to get a degree and become a real somebody. We want them to believe in themselves and value their own abilities. The intent is good but the truth is that a three or four-year degree isn't for everyone. Many students later discover that their degree does not fit their gifts, interests or aspirations. The truth is that there is more than one path to a successful future. A university degree may be a fruitful option for some, but apprenticeships, community colleges, tech schools and vocational institutes may be more appropriate for many.
More tomorrow (click here) …