I LOVE leadership development. So much, that I decided to major in leadership in college. I guess my fascination with leadership really began in middle school. I was involved in various clubs and activities and knew I wanted to be a leader “when I grew up”. In high school, I had various leadership positions in some of the extracurriculars I was a part of. In college, I felt led choose a leadership major at Toccoa Falls College, though I didn’t understand why at the time and really did not know if I would ever get to use what I had learned “in the real [career] world”. I pressed on and graduated and began life as a stay-at-home mom, only months later to realize that this was NOT for me.
When I was young, I thought leadership belonged to a small, elite group. Yet, as a grew, I came to realize that each and every one of us has the power to be a leader. In fact, if you are a Christian, I believe you are called to be a leader in some way. However, YOU, whoever you are, have a choice whether or not to wield this power and be a leader. Even then, you have a choice of what kind of leader you want to be.
Leadership isn’t something that comes with age. It isn’t something that can be bought. But it is something that can be unleashed in any ordinary person’s daily life. Every day, I have an opportunity to be a leader, to make a difference, to impact someone’s life for the better.
God recently led me to begin a career at Georgia College, and so far, I absolutely love it. I LOVE working with college kids. They are incredibly cool to me. Each one is different and unique. They are my passion. I love this stage that they are at in life. It is so pivotal and impactful, and though my current position doesn’t allow me to spend much time with a single one, I love the interaction I do get to have with them.
Today, I believe millennials are misunderstood. We – because yes, I am guilty of doing this at times myself – judge them for being different, for not holding up to our own standards and even some standards of generations before us. We are quick to point out their flaws, but hesitant to give them praise. We get frustrated when they don’t know or do things that seem like common knowledge to us. We deem them selfish, we label them as babies, and we think them incompetent. Worst of all, we don’t give them the attention they need, or credit they deserve.
Change is inevitable. It happens every day. We cannot be so stuck in the past that we impose this upon the generations to come. If we inflict our own stereotypes upon any group of people long enough, eventually that is who they will become. However, I believe if you take a group of people, guide them, foster growth, and nurture them, they have an opportunity to become something amazing. This is what we believe and perform as parents, so why should it be any different with others?
So just why do I love this current generation of college students that we call “millennials”?
They are energetic. They have passion. They are alive. They refuse to be “normal” or mundane. They refuse to settle. They believe that dreams come true. They set goals and have plans. They are excited, enthusiastic, and determined, and if you hang around them long enough, their vibe is contagious.
They’re inventive. They’re entrepreneurs. They have vision and artistic talent. They are climbing the corporate latter while also starring on broadway. They make headlines in sports and begin to lead in academia. They want to be informed and they want to make an impact.
They’re optimistic. They’re focused. They truly want to change the world for the better, and they believe they can make a difference. They are strong. They love information. They want to be involved.
Is this generation perfect? No, but let’s be honest-no generation is! Every set has it’s own problems, problems to which the generation that preceded should help them in their weakness. Yes, this generation tends to think it’s entitled. Yes, sometimes they lack basic skills and knowledge that generations before them take for granted. But we have two choices. Either we can continue to point our fingers, pick out their flaws, and blame them for everything that is wrong in the world, OR we can humble ourselves, observing the own log in our own eye, and help this group of amazing people. We can guide them in their weakness and help them grow, while learning from their strengths. We can form relationships with them and build teams with them, and truly come alongside them to serve our communities and live out the Gospel of Christ.
After all, isn’t that what leaders are supposed to do?
Oh, and I almost forgot…while many people tend to think of millennials as only today’s college students, guess what? These are actually some of the last millennials. That’s right! If you were born between 1980 and 2000, YOU are a millennial. Remember that the next time you go to cast a stone! 😉