Thursday, August 6, 2015

Millennials, Overscheduling, and the definition of Success

Millennials.  The designation is given to people born during a roughly 20 year span by some (1980-2000), however I think, whatever you want to call them, the real designation is 1980-1987 or so.  What that means is that Millennials are your current parents-of-young-children (age 28-35).  Why does any of that matter?  Well, a little background information is necessary to understand the issue at hand (whether you fall into that age range or not).  I digress.

What you need to know:
More Millennials are working than any other generation in American history.  The number one response in Millennials to the age old question of "how are you?" has changed from "good" (as has been the standard answer for about the last 60 years) to "busy!".  
Research shows that relationships within Millennials (across the board) have taken a hit due to extremely limited face to face time and that that face to face time is then spent in competition.  
The number one thing they are said to (actually) compete over and try to "one-up" on:  being the busiest.  The analogy among business research is that "a full outlook calendar has replaced the sports car as the number one status symbol".  This analogy doesn't just stop at the parents either.  Even when both parents work full time and keep their schedules maxed out (often times the way the competition of being busy is won is judged by who has missed the most planned events/activities), they equally over extend themselves in shuttling multiple children to multiple sports in multiple cities (full well knowing they can't make them all and that it will cause even more stress on all other activities and relationships).  

Speaking of stress, depending on your survey of choice, Millennials report that over 20% of them live in a constant state of "Extreme stress" and 50% self identify as "medium-high stress".  Even with those figures, nearly 70% of those who identify themselves as high stress or above say that their stress increases each passing year and they're being stretched thinner and thinner.

In politics, Millennials don't vote.  Often times they're very passionate about politics, talk politics, listen to politics, even volunteer in the political process and yet statistics show they Still Don't Vote. The reasons?  Non-committal.  Sort of.... they view it as a waste of time (1 match in a forest fire) and that it takes too much time and effort to go vote just to accomplish nothing.

In the business arena, volumes are being written about how to manage Millennials in the workforce.  
The top points coming out of all the research:  
They value relationships and want to work with their friends and want who they work with to be their friends (this is more valued in Millennials than in any other generation of the past).
They are the busiest generation ever, and above anything else they value flexibility (and hate mandatory time slots and will burn out and leave your company if work _schedules_ interfere with their busy schedules outside of work). Right.  

Speaking of schedules...  Schedules are crazy. 
Again, "Success" in business And family is defined by who has the most over-scheduled GoogleCalendar (Outlook... Lawl). "Downtime" is the few isolated weeks a year that you have time to catch a breath between activities. Christmas "break"? Forget about it. Summer "break"? You're kidding.  The first week of back to school? LOL!!!!
The first week back to school, as most are in now or are currently preparing for with the same panic induced voracity of a doomsday prepper on the History Channel, is pure unadulterated pandemonium
Phrases like "be still" and "quiet time" are thrown in the box that includes other equally likely statements such as "fly to Pluto" (is that a planet again or are we still broke up?) and "eat breakfast with a TRex" (and no, the kid you're currently getting ready for back to school doesn't count. Technically). 
So... What do we do?  We're literally too busy to breathe.  So, we perform (daily) scheduling triage.  But... how's that working out for you?  When you lay your activities on the chopping block, (be honest) what gets cut, how do you choose, and why?  

"Be still" before people can get the question out of their lips of 'what does that even mean?' their brain interrupts with 'Yeah, Right!'  "Be still"?  Really?  Still?  

What's at play in these internal wars we wage?  (false) idols of convenience, being good enough, buying time, buying love, success, being the status quo, anxiety and control (oh the damning cycle that control and anxiety perpetuate)

Here are OUR answers
(because like everything else I write and every sermon I deliver, this is a #Note2Self )

Even if you've read these a hundred times, even if you could recite them without clicking on the link to read them, click on the link to Read them in the message and here the imploring love letter from a God who loves you, wants you to have peace, and wants to offer Rest.

  1. Psalm 23
  2. Psalm 46
  3. Isaiah 40 (pay special attention to verses 27-31)
  4. Matthew 6:25-34
  5. Philippians 4:6-7
  6. and **Matthew 11:29-30

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