By: Art Hobba– Four months ago, as I sat in a daylong conference of 400 Christian CEOs and business leaders, I was riveted by a presentation from a young woman considered one of the nation’s top experts on Millennials. Gabrielle Bosche was peeling back the curtain to help us, for the first time, to understand the millennial generation, which included three of my five sons.
Over 40 years of relating to my boys, now grown men, had at times resembled a war zone instead of “Little House on the Prairie.” For most of them, our relationship had turned into a friendship by their early twenties, but the scars, and some current wounds, still survived. And I knew I was mostly responsible.
As Gabrielle’s slides appeared on the screen, she expounded on the key points:
The realization hit that I had been viewing my sons, and all Millennials, with an assumptive condescending bias. As a former Jesus Freak from 1970, we all believed we would be world-changers too, and most of us saw our folks (and pretty much all grown-ups) as “out of it.”
“It is a heavy burden to try to be Yoda without magical powers.”
As Gabrielle continued, my heart went still as the Holy Spirit began to remove the splinter in my eye, and equip me with a new set of lenses. I knew if I were to ever have a fulfilling relationship with my sons, I needed to repent and embrace a new layer of humility. I saw I needed to become a student again; internally disrobing the Dad-Patriarch-Hero, and putting on the garment of a servant-first. Using questions as a listener, I would not assume to be their teacher, but earn the right to be heard one day through love and humility. Deciding that the best way to begin would be to go to each son and confess and ask for their forgiveness, I could then begin being that guy who could actually be their friend and advocate.
It is a heavy burden to be Yoda without magical powers. However, this new reality liberated that Abrahamic, “Stars in the Sky” kind of burden in me. It also propelled me into a journey to understand and comprehend this generation.
As a business advisor-coach to mostly male C-Level executives, I had already heard an earful of their frustrations with this job-hopping, “spoiled” and “entitled” generation. One told me of a 22 year-old college grad who joined their workforce, got expensive training, and begin to make an impact, only to quit after 6 months. With most of our firm’s clientele being Dads with teen and adult children, it also became an opportunity to share my “aha moment” with them.
Church and business leaders have been asking this question for the past 10 years, but we now have more data to enlighten us, and in typical nearsighted fashion, it is now that we must begin to learn from them.
In this four-part series the ultimate big question here is how can older men, Dads, Granddads, and coaches help them be stronger disciples of Jesus than we ever were? Why stronger? Because even Jesus told the 12 youngsters that followed him for 3 years, that their destiny was to “do greater things than He had done.” Let’s not make our goal to just be able to tolerate or get along with these young men. I’m not looking for a truce, I’m seeking how God might use me and my scars for transformation. My generation’s level of faith has been nothing to write home about. Let’s learn to move closer, and serve them beyond ourselves so one day they’ll mature and lead beyond us towards the pinnacle of Jesus Christ.
Other questions I intend to explore in the series are:
So how is this generation different from the X Gen’s and Boomers?
What can Christian men over 40 learn from them beyond what we already know?
Why have so many Millennials men left the church? Is there an answer to getting them back?
How can we actively seek to build bridges between our generations as authentic Christ-followers?
Will you join me for the next 3 Tuesdays? Let’s share questions and insights and maybe even some scars or even unhealed wounds? Enrich us all and help add fresh fodder to the next articles.
Read the Series
Art Hobba has written 5 books and 3 years of Men’s Discipleship Curricula, and is the founder of Core 300, a 501c3 organization. Also, Art frequently speaks at churches, pastor’s conferences and men’s events. He is also Managing Principal of Transcende, which provides Business Transformation for organizations. He lives with his wife, Sharon, and together they have 5 grown sons and one grandson. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
 Gabrielle Jackson-Bosche, Author of 5 Millennial Myths
 Gabrielle Jackson-Bosche; Modified by Art Hobbahttps://www.linkedin.com/pulse/forget-career-ladder-millennials-taking-elevator-gabrielle-jackson?trk=prof-post
 John 14:12