Student Culture, Trends & Issues

The Problem of Future


The problem of future is simple — it’s not now.

And today’s student has a hard time grasping much that is “yet to come.” It’s not that they’re dumb — in fact we know that quite the opposite is true of them. But with so much going on in this very moment, it’s hard to think much beyond it.

They understand the here and the now — because they’ve grown up in an “instant” culture.

About a year ago I wrote a post entitled: Overcoming a Culture of Instant Gratification. In it I talk about needing to introduce students the discipline of slow. Why slow? Because in slow — and only in the slow of life — can some things truly grow and take shape in the ways that they need to.





Some things take time and cannot be rushed.

But most of today’s students don’t understand this. Again, it’s not that they’re ignorant — it’s just that this is a foreign concept to most. They don’t typically choose things that take time — because there are a sundry of other options that they can choose from. Choices that don’t require waiting.

Equally troubling is the fact that many students fail to see how their decisions in the present directly impact their future.

We have begun to hear rumblings about this reality as they pertain to recent grads. who have attempted to gain employment, only to find out that they were dropped from consideration after a simple Google search turned up some unsavory images, or unacceptable online behavior — no matter how recent the incident(s).

One of the biggest challenges this current generation of students face is the fact that the decisions they make now will most definitely impact their future.

Decisions — both large and small — will shape:

How they live.

Who they become.

What they live for and aspire to.

Who and how they are in relationships.

What they believe and how they live it out.

And, most students don’t want to believe this to be true.

They don’t want to believe that any irresponsible actions or gross missteps in the present will potentially make a mess of their future.

That’s too much.

That ruins the college experience.

That’s a buzz kill to the present.

And that’s the problem of future.

In order to be the kind of person that others hold in high esteem because of their character, integrity, faith, relationships, etc. when their in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s — students need to begin to think more intentionally about their future — and they kinds of choices they are making in the present.

They need to more clearly connect the dots between their present to their potential future.

They need to be willing to forgo the “instant” payoff for the sake of slowly growing something that will last.

And as mentors of students, we are uniquely positioned to challenge them in this regard.

Sure, some students might find their way on their own — but many will not. And now is the time — in their young lives — when it might be as simple as a slight correction and/or re-orientation that completely changes the trajectory of their lives.

But someone needs to help them see it.

Someone needs to care enough to be willing to speak the truth in love.

And if you’re reading this, I’d dare say that the someone is you.


If you like the kinds of conversations you’ve found here at, then I highly encourage you to check out The 2013 Faith ON Campus Summer Institute! This year I will be joined by author and leadership guru Tim Elmore for a two-day conversation about the unique challenges and opportunities that exist in mentoring this generation of college students! Find out more here. And find out how to win your ticket to the conference here.