In my context (where I live & work) Patience isn't not something most students (ages 10-24) are used to. They have grown up with internet, laptops with wireless internet, parents having smart phones, they themselves having smart phones, Ipods giving them access to music anywhere & everywhere, text messaging, Facebook status updates....they have the world at their fingertips and they get to access it when they want. Much of the time our technology advances serve a great purpose. But it is how the consumers use the technology that creates a cultural pressure in people's lives.
It is comical to me when students text someone & the person doesn't reply within 30 seconds a student can be frustrated or irate. Many students feel that if they send a text the person receiving it should reply with immediacy. Heaven for bid they may not have their phone on, have it on silent, are occupied with something else or any other scenario. I've also seen this also create a tension in students that they "might miss something important" if they don't always check their text messages or Facebook feeds.
As a culture, again in my context, we are creating a reliance on entitlement through technology.
I often ask students "how long can you live without your phone?".
The answer is "I can't imaging being without my phone".
However, when we've gone to Mexico, Houseboat trips or anywhere else without cell service students do survive for that week. The key is many have never been shown how to live without their phones or other technology that creates life immediacy.
So how does this relate to Patience?
It seems students don't know how to wait for anything. If they want info, music, answers, go off on a digital public rant, order food they can get it or achieve it at their fingertips. Students live in the now & expect things to happen quickly.
So when relationships take time to develop, ministry changes take time to be noticed, working through job applications require interviews instead of online questionnaires, Facebook updates don't include themselves in the event & God is "slow to speak" according to our time frame students can get disinterested.
Honestly I don't have a clue as to help curve the lack of patience in students other than continue to share with them that a large part of the rest of the world doesn't operate like we do. Doesn't make them wrong or us right but perspective is needed. I think challenging students to develop the spiritual discipline of solitude is key...but it seems like an uphill battle.
Thoughts from the youth ministry world??
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