Coconut Generation

The Next Generation of Asian Indians

American Students heading to India November 30, 2006

Filed under: Culture,India,News,Youth — Sam George @ 3:19 am

For the last three years or so, Asian Indians have been the largest foreign student population in American universities. Despite a five per cent drop from a record 80,000 plus last year, India still heads the list with 76,503 admissions in 2006. I have cited more data and information on this in the Coconut Book. Also get latest research report called Open Doors from the Institute of International Education.

But an interesting twist this year is the dramatic increase in the American students who are heading to India – a 53 percent rise from last year. India is the 20th destination for American students and this year a record enrollment of 1800, while 6500 student go to China to study.

Why are they going to India, when some of the finest educational establishments are in Western nations? India and China have been lately attracting students from around the world.  Fastest growing economies in the world and bubbling with opportunties, young Americans are heading to Asia to acquire “language and culture skills” in university setting to carve out unique future global careers for themselves. Not to mention National Security Language Iniative encouraging Americans to develop foreign language proficiencies.

Any thots?

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Kids growing up faster November 27, 2006

Filed under: Bible,Culture,Ministries,News,Youth — Sam George @ 3:48 pm

Children are growing up sooner these days. Child development experts say physical and behavioral changes that would have been typical of teenagers decades ago are common among children age 8 to 12.

Read the story in Chicago Tribune, LA Times.

Younger kids are going on “dates” and have cell phones. They listen to sexually charged pop music, play mature-rated video games and spend time gossiping on MySpace. And girls wear makeup and clothing some adults consider beyond their years. They are watching R movies and sexually explicit content on Internet. Sexual experimentation has also begun earlier. At 12. they even think that they have now “grown up.”Their bodies are developing faster; with more girls starting menstruation in elementary school. Doctors attribute it to improved nutrition and, in some cases, obesity. With reduced parental involvement, increased peer pressure, greater social permissiveness etc. may have contributed to this trend. Technology and consumerism have accelerated the pace of life, giving children easy access to influences that may or may not be parent-approved. 

What does this mean for youth ministy, parents or church? Identity formation and confusion will begin early. Faith shaped lifestyle, making choices, discipleship has to beging early. We simply cannot leave kids between ages 8-10, to sunday school approach to ministry – story telling, kido curriculum and teachers who have no clue whats on the mind and hearts of todays kids.

See tips for parents in Intl Herald Tribune. Read my chapter on Identity: Who am I (pg 48 in Coconut Book)

‘Who am I’ question is best answered along with two other questions – Who are you, God? (Exod 3:13) and Who are my people? (1 Chro 29:14). The popular identity formation theories of western psychologist are often secular, individualistic and humnanistic. Will we recalim  who we really are in relationship to God and a community.

 

Rising Indian Population in America November 23, 2006

Filed under: church,India,Leadership,News,Youth — Sam George @ 4:12 pm

Asian Indians continues to arrive at the shores of United States in big number and with big dreams. Based on American community survery 2005, between 2000-2005 Asian Indian population in the United States grew by 38% (nearly 2.4 million). See the US census report – http://www.census.gov/acs/www/

See also news reports in Washington Post, Little India, and Hindustan Times.

The influx outpaces all other groups of immigrants. The growing partnership and goodwill between the two great nations (not to mention American need for technology workers) will only cause steady rise in the years to come. Even outsourcing is not keeping Indians back home, but want to explore greater opportunity in the largest economy of the world.

This trend might continue to overshadow the American-born Desi Indians (the Coconut Generation). Also migration of Christians from India has also reduced significantly as compared to late 60s and 70s. So Indian churches in America will be forced to recon with leadership transition to the next generation. While in the Hindu and Jain temples leadership will continue to be held with immigrants. This will cause a silent exodus of second generation from religious institutions where leadership is held and more geared address the needs of the immigrants. 

 

Weekend in Detroit November 21, 2006

Filed under: church,Events,Leadership,Youth — Sam George @ 3:28 pm

Last weekend, I visited Detroit. On sunday, I spoke at couple of churches and shared at couple of home fellowships. Also got to catch up with some friends in that city.

Over summer, I was invited to come there and share about the Coconut Book. But somehow due to a hectic book tour, I could not include Detroit into my travel plans. But I was glad I finally made it there last week. Some had already read the book and many are in the process. I am very encouraged by their feedbacks on their reading.

I am looking forward to being at Urbana Student Missions conference in December. I am excited about sharing about Ministry to the Americanized Asian Indians there with Dr. T.V. Thomas (who was the main speaker few years ago and leads the Asian Indian track at this event). I am always awed at how God shows up at this event and how it has helped so many young people I know to get involved with missions. Praying for it and getting ready for it.

Happy thanksgiving! Count your blessings, weigh them ton by ton!

 

Wired Generation of teens November 17, 2006

Filed under: church,Culture,Events,India,Youth — Sam George @ 8:50 pm

Todays teens are among the most wired generation ever lived. The recent (Nov 20) issue of India Today (you need access code to read this, if you can’t, pls let me know)carried a cover story on M-GEN (the mobile generation) with the latest tech tools like iPod, cell phones, laptops with broadband wireless access etc. It is no more accessorries, but have become integral part of their daily lives. Their multi-tasking skills, knowledge of latest gadget and gizmos, software tools etc mind boggling. You will find them doing their homeworks while talking on the phone, SMS-ing, surfing the Net, listening to music and watching TV-all at the same time.

Is this obession a positive trait or will it haunt them? Views differ depend on whom you ask. Can we let our children grow up without these skills that are becoming essential not just for make a living, but for the very life in the 21st century. But when kids are spending 8-10 hrs a day (as reported in the above story), that is quite alaraming.

Media has become the message and the rite of passage. They are being defined and owned by tech driven mass media. When their sense of identity, friendship, community, role models, morality etc are shaped by this new media world, it become utmost essentilal for parents and youth leaders to stay current. Or we may never have the vocabulary to decisively engage with teens of our times.

Wired or wierd?

 

Next Generation Morality November 16, 2006

Filed under: church,Culture,Family,Leadership,News — Sam George @ 6:13 pm

Is there a difference between people in their 20s/30s and those above 40s in matters of morality and attitudes towards ethical behavior? A major nationwide study of Americans finds a resouding YES.

Barna research concludes that next generation of adults are bending moral and sexual rules to their liking. Some of topics researched included extramarital sex, pornography, homosexuality, and sexual fantasies. And in all of these areas, next generation were significantly different from older Americans. They are more likely to have viewed sexually explicit movies, videos or online content. More than two-thirds of the younger generation said that cohabitation and sexual fantasies are morally acceptable behaviors, compared with half of older adults. Most young adults contended that engaging in sex outside of marriage and viewing pornography are not morally problematic, while only one-third of older generation agreed. Almost half of next generation believed that sexual relationships between people of the same sex are acceptable, compared with one-quarter of older adults.

Shocking revelations indeed how far the culture has blinded the coming generation! How do you sense the morality gap between immigrant generation and the second generation? How does it shape your ministry to the next generation?

 

TIME’s story on Youth Ministry November 12, 2006

Filed under: church,Leadership,Ministries,News,Resources,Youth — Sam George @ 2:12 am

Few week’s ago Time carried a story on youth ministry – In Touch with Jesus. It said, “Sugarcoated, MTV-style youth ministry is so over. Bible-based worship is packing teens in pews now.”

The young generation are more intense seekers. Many religious institutions still treat them as little kids. An era of game, fun, music, “childcare” for teens approach to youth ministry is dying a natural death. I have never really believed in that in any way, but have seen many youth leaders pouring their heart and soul into it. They have longed gone beyond music to genuine connection with the Supreme. They are on a pursuit of ultimate truth, nothing else will satisfy them. They are on a lookout for others and to be part of community who believes what they do and what will make a difference in the world.

I strongly recommend Kenda Dean’s book – Practising Passion: Youth and the Quest for a Passionate Church. This book was one of ten must-reads of church leaders last year. She was my professor at Princeton and I conside her as my mentor. I have quoted her in the Coconut Book and she also gave back cover endorsement. 

More later…