One of the great strengths of our faith is that it is not just a set of laws and regulations to follow or just merely there to guide us. It is a living relationship with a personal God. Among the elements that this constitutes are the legacies that are left behind, from generation to generation. We see this patterned many times in the Bible, from Moses unto Joshua, from Elijah unto Elisha, among others, and in the way God shaped His Kingdom even early in the days of the Old Testament.. Each generation must serve their own purpose in their life-time! Each married couple of every generation must seek to nurture Godly Offspring.
The non-profit organisation Family First Malaysia’s chief calling recognizes this. One of its foundational visions is to TRANSFORM Next Generation Fathers, supported by Mothers, to build better Families, resulting in a better Workplace, a better Society, and a better Nation.
In a recent seminar, Family First Malaysia President and CEO Dr Peter Ting shared about the journey of the Next Generation Leadership, particularly in the context of the family. Dr Peter is no stranger to such experiences himself. He fathers 3 Millennial sons, ranging from the age of 27 to 24. More than 17 years ago, as recounted in his book, Bouncing Back from Crisis, he recovered from broken finances, failing health of only 46kg (now 62kg), and numerous family challenges to where he is now, teaching and providing wisdom to many other young parents.
He opened by sharing about the six stages of parenting. In order for a family to have children, first there must be imagination and pregnancy. This sets an image-forming and adjustment planning for the family’s future, necessary for the changes the family would have to adapt. Each of the following 5 phases have different types of responsibilities for the parents.
From the baby’s infancy until 2 years of age, the baby is nurtured and a bonding is built up. From toddler until preschool (2-5 years of age), authoritative and directive guidance with rules and limits are set. From pre-school to adolescence/teenage years, the child develops his or her ability to interpret and reason and starts to take responsibilities and gain freedom within boundaries.
From teenage to adulthood, the child becomes facilitative interdependent members of the family with the parents, fully self-governing but mutually supportive of each other. As the parents enter into their golden years, they take on new role clarifications as friends and mentors for their children, who were once dependent but now equipped for their own life journey.
This pattern is basic for all families for many generations. Yet in today’s world, inundated with all sorts of media and messages perpetually, there are many complications. Today’s young generation are aware of such huge issues as religious conflicts, large scale and global conflicts such as war and the threat of war, climate change and destruction of natural resources. This awareness was present since the 1960s and 1970s but today the world is connected throughout all the time with mobile devices and the Internet, and not every message that comes through in the online world are beneficial for our children.
Why should the Millennials matter? Most obviously, they are the generation that are going to shape the future world. Dr Peter Ting shared some statistics within the South East Asian context. In Singapore they are the largest generation in the workforce with a population of 1.2 million, making up 22% of the total resident population. By 2020, the Millennial Generation will comprise 34% of the population in Indonesia. In Malaysia, Gen Y, who we define as those aged 19-35 in 2016, now make up 44% of the population. Globally, they are projected to overtake the Baby Boomers in population size by 2028.
How do we model parenting for this crucial generation? Dr Peter shared a foundational principle: the key to better parenting is through an example of a better marriage. In a study conducted by Dr John D Urwin of 80 civilizations spanning over 4000 years, it was found that as families deteriorated (with declining moral values), the civilization itself started to come apart. The fall of the nation was related to the fall of the family.
The key towards a better marriage is that of complete mutual love and respect between husband and wife, which would then be passed down to the children. The most common stumbling block which would lead to raising delinquent children are such factors (some we take for granted) as unloving spouses, unguarded speech in the home, proliferation of uncensored materials, unchecked associations and uncontrolled giving/spending for the children, undisciplined spiritual growth, and an uncontrolled diet.
Dr Peter Ting shared that a holistic parenting style are often more advantageous than a didactic one. A lot of parents handle such factors above in a preventive defensive style rather than from a relational front. Good parenting comes through time and effort; build up over consistent connections and bonding over time. Proverbs 22:6 reminds us of this.
Proverbs 22:6New International Version (NIV)
6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
One such example of a didactic parenting style is in what Dr Peter calls Talent Mismatched, the passing of the parents’ dreams and hope unto the child. Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” In today’s complex world, children have developed multiple types of intelligences. Among these are intrapersonal (self-smart), linguistic (word-smart), logical-mathematical (logic-smart), naturalist (nature-smart), spatial (picture-smart), bodily-kinesthetic (body-smart), musical (music-smart), interpersonal (people-smart).
We need to identify and recognize these intelligences in our children, not merely to shape them but also to mould them, not to cut with brute force but to nurture them. We need to teach our children how to ask the right questions: not merely ‘what job will make the most money’, but more importantly, ‘what problems do I want to solve?’ We need to identify the talents within our children.
5 paradigm shifts in the coming generation can change the world. The Paradigm of Leadership (from leadership for the few to everyone can be a leader). The Paradigm of Potential (from a few people are gifted to everyone has genius). The Paradigm of Change (from to improve schools the system needs to change to change starts with me). The Paradigm of Motivation (from teachers control & direct student learning to teachers empower and facilitate learning). The Paradigm of Education (from teachers help students to achieve academically to teachers develop the whole person).
Dr Peter shared that absent fathers can lead to many common psychological effects such as low self-esteem, depression, aggressive anger, drug usage, poor school and work performance and many others. A survey with over 7000 students (published in The Star in 2005) shows that an average teenager in the Klang Valley spent over 50 hours weekly entertaining himself through music, movies and chatting on the Internet and an average of three minutes a day (or 21 minutes a week) with their father.
98% of the population live in a problem-conscious, follow the crowd, insecure, settle for less, fearful, scarcity-minded mindset called the comfort zone. Dr Peter urged that we need to teach our children to develop the 2% growth mindset, marked by positive mental attitudes, a courage to explore new things, to learn to grow and profit from failure, abundance mentality, to be innovative and creative and to develop a high concentration and focus. Two practical schemes were also shared: the Millennial House Rules and the Entrepreneurial Journey in Different Seasons of Life.
NOTE: Family First Malaysia is a non-profit organisation that exist to partner with like-minded organisations to RESTORE, RESHAPE and RELEASE men and women to become Better Couples and Parents in the context of traditional marriage and family with a 3F focus: Family, Finance, and Fitness.
All event photos used with the kind permission of Family First Malaysia.
|Share The Good News|