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I've spoken before on BreakPoint about what some have called "failure to launch," or Peter Pan Syndrome. Today I offer something we can do about it.
Last year the Pew Research Center made headlines when it reported that, for the first time in more than a century, more young people in their 20s were living with Mom and Dad than with their husband, wife, or domestic partner. According to the U.S. Census, in 1960, only one in six 25-year-olds still lived with his or her parents. In 2014, one in three did!
Some of phenomenon can be attributed, no doubt, to changes in the labor market and the spiraling costs of college debt. Over such things young people have little control.
But part of this problem is also due to what might be called Peter Pan Syndrome, along with the motto, "I don't ever want to be a man. I always want to be a little boy and to have fun." Those suffering from this condition, men and women, are functionally children living in adult bodies. They never grew up. Why?
Well, first and foremost, those suffering from "perpetual adolescence" have a worldview problem. Many have come to think that the world revolves around them. Gods of their own tiny universes, they haven't apprehended the truth that "man's chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy Him forever," as the Westminster Shorter Catechism puts it. They do not see themselves as role players in God's plan to restore all things under the lordship of Jesus Christ.
It's easy to see how young people who think their chief end is to glorify self and enjoy the world 'til they die end up bored and unmotivated about things that really matter.
And tragically, many Christian young people have imbibed this deadly cultural poison. Like their secular peers, they have little idea of their place in God's world and the difference it should make in their lives. They may go to church and may have even made a "decision" for Jesus, but their thinking is just as confused as their unchurched neighbors. So what's the cure?
Besides a renewed commitment to prayer and the Bible, let me suggest a Christian worldview experience that can change their thinking and their direction in life. It's a multi-year program called Student Leadership University, put on by my friends Brent Crowe and Jay Strack.
SLU 101 which will be held next year in San Antonio, Orlando, New York, and California, challenges high school students to "Think, Dream, and Lead." As Brent often asks young people, "What would you do for the glory of God if you knew you would not fail?"
SLU 101 includes leadership instruction taught by world-class communicators, worldview development training by leading Christian apologists, and--because there's nothing wrong with it--afternoons of fun, like roller coasters and such. But like everything at SLU, it's fun with a purpose.
As Jay says, "You are the same person five years from now as you are today except the places you go, the people you meet, the books you read and the Scripture you memorize." Yes, exactly the same, which is why Peter Pan Syndrome doesn't go away on its own. But don't get the idea that SLU 101 is simply another exercise in knowledge transfer.
Changing one's worldview means changing one's thinking. Student Leadership University is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will teach your young person how to think and lay the foundation for a solid, Christian worldview.
And by the way, grads of SLU 101 move on to 201, 301, and eventually 401 in future years. Each experience takes it up a notch in both intensity and results.
So if your student is ready to escape Peter Pan Syndrome, and the cultural disservice of low expectations that afflict teens today, in order to embrace future-tense thinking, character-driven decision-making, ownership of biblical values, and a commitment to influence through service, check out Student Leadership University.