Bridging the generational disconnect
With 24 years’ worth of assisting in the development of young people, Pastor Ricardo Miller Sr. said he has come to realize that children are not adequately taught what to do. He reminds parents that their children were given to them to train, cultivate and develop and that many are far behind in properly addressing the needs of young people.
“We are largely ineffective in equipping them to be influencers for positive change,” said Miller who is set to host the first Influencers Summit on October 12 at Queen’s College, during which parents, teachers, young leaders and pastors can learn strategies for influencing children, teens and young adults.
“There is a crisis in our nation,” said Miller. “Succession and passing the baton gracefully to the next generation is, unfortunately, a game of Russian roulette.”
Miller said individuals who have taken the charge of preaching Christ to young people have become more and more flustered every week. He said parents are increasingly frustrated; that teachers are having a difficult time with educating their students and that children’s and youth pastors are finding it 100 times more difficult to positively influence those in their church and their community.
He said the massive disconnect isn’t only in The Bahamas, but worldwide, and that it is dangerous for leaders to stick their head in the sand, ignoring the realities that come with coping with children, teens, young adults and millennials.
“My heart’s most urgent concern is that being such a young, developing, small nation, the disconnect has the potential to become an unrecoverable dilemma that ultimately hinders our advancement as a country. This hindrance would be realized in our government, our businesses and most importantly, in our churches no longer having the influence that it should,” said Miller. “Success without a successor is failure. We have to learn how to pass on our values and our faith to the next generation. We have to learn how to connect.”
According to the United States National Review Statistics (www.NationalReview.com) on religion, most millennials say they believe in God, but it’s a smaller majority than among older age groups, and only 36 percent say they see themselves as a religious person, versus nearly 60 percent of their elders. And that some 29 percent of millennials are religiously unaffiliated, a percentage that has been rising in recent years and that they’re evidently moving away from their parents’ religion but not toward one of their own.
Miller said the numbers help leaders to see the alarming generational disconnect.
“The values of love and marriage and children from our forefathers is not being perpetuated. The younger people of our nation could change the future of The Bahamas drastically. And without guidance, perhaps not in a way that we had hoped.”
The children and youth pastor encouraged generational leaders to step up now and said they must be intentional about continuously developing themselves and their ability to effectively communicate, and subsequently connect with the younger generations.
“We must stir up within them the vision of unlimited possibilities for a future at home in The Bahamas – one that will cultivate growth, prosperity, great value to the nation and its people, through respect for its laws and its leaders. My question to you is, are you ready to join me and become a leader who bridges the generational gaps?” he asked.
Miller is also the CEO and founder of Effective Living LLC which specializes in time management coaching and personal development training.