Next Gen, Baseball, Wil Wheaton, and Patience.

I don’t know how many of you are fans of Star Trek: Next Generation. But there is a great episode entitled Evolution. I won’t go into great detail, but you should watch it. Especially if you are a youth pastor. Previous to watching it you should read a book entitled Generation iY. These two things relate more than you realize.

Gen iY is a great book about the specific age group of, mostly students, born from 1990 forward. There is almost a hard-line that can be drawn between those born 1989 or before, and those born 1990 and on. The reason is that 1990 is about the time you had to be born in order to experience the advent of home PC’s on a widespread scale, which could be argued happened around 1995. As we are now just beginning to understand some of the implications of these events, Generation iY is a great book on the subject and how to practically engage with an entirely new generation and that has a different way of viewing the world around us.

In the Evolution episode on Next Gen there is a great scene where Dr. Paul Stubbs, a guest scientist on the Enterprise is speaking to Wesley (Wil Wheaton) and reflecting on baseball and the difference between when he was growing up and the time he is now living in. Stubbs is worried that in history, he “won’t even be mentioned.” He talks about baseball and that he’s “seen the great players make the great plays.” How he’s seen the great players of a slow game and compares it with the instant gratification and fast pace of the world in which he now lives. He says that playing whole seasons of baseball, in his head (as opposed to the hollow deck recreations of most), was his reward for patience and the knowing that his time will come. He stated all this while reflecting on the disappointment that he will never get the chance to carry out his experiment. “A brand new era in astrophysics… postponed one hundred and ninety-six years… on account of rain,

This is a similar tension to what we live in. There is now a culture of instant gratification and “overnight” success stories that we have to deal with. The stories behind the success, the years of patient diligence are very rarely shown. It is now part of our role to teach patience and endurance in a culture where it isn’t valued.

How do you engage with a new generation that expects success instantly? How do you teach persistence? How do you teach patience? How do you teach wisdom?

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