Coconut Generation

The Next Generation of Asian Indians

Going Childless January 30, 2007

Filed under: Culture,Family,Leadership,News — Sam George @ 3:25 pm

There is a growing trend in the western world not to have children. They say, “Two’s family, three’s a pain”. I am not talking about couples who could not coneieve or have children of their own or through adoption, but many newly married couples choosing not to have children, considering them as a interference to their lifestyle or career. It is now redefined as “childfree”, couples today are choosing not to have children says the Times <http://women.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,17909-2565850.html> .

These couples are contented in opting not to become parents. One woman in five now remains childless, with nearly one degree-educated woman in three never becoming a mother. In the US, according to a census in 2003, 42 per cent of women don’t have children. The question that perplexes many people is why. The obvious answer, one that upsets the child-free, is selfishness: children are demanding  and require attention 24/7. Last month, the Pope said that Europe no longer seemed to want to have children and blamed “the wish to have one’s whole life to one’s self” for people choosing to be childless. While in Asian, Africa and Latin America there is baby boom and they seems to steadily migrating to take over the western institutions – legal, economy and politics.

My wife and I have two boys now, but we could not have children for many years, though we wanted to. Children are such a blessing and they are message to a world and time that we will not see. What a legacy to leave behind. Some people can only see here & now, while others are obsessed with self. They simply cannot see beyond themselves or their times. Moreover, I believe that the original purpose of marriage and children for us to grow up. We are not raising our children, but it is life’s final chance to grow up really. Marriage and children are a crucible for discipleship!

 

Family Members doing your Reviews January 26, 2007

Filed under: Family,Leadership — Sam George @ 3:32 pm

In corporate America performace evaluations are a common thing. But what about executives being evaluated by their spouses and children. WSJ carried this interesting development in some of the major company CEOs and senior management called Family 360. Their big finding is that strengthening personal and family relationships with immediate and extended family members, improves work effectiveness. No surprise I guess!

No matter how your performace is out there, who you are matters. Your values, outlook, ethics, aspirations etc are all shaped in your home. Corporate America is finally waking up to realize the influence of home. More stable and fulfilling home environment is, more productive and resourceful people are at work.

But if you are working with non-profit or religious organization, do you dare to take a family 360? Sometime we think, since we are working for God we must even sacrifice on the family front. We hope our children and spouse should understand the noble causes for which we labor everyday. But they don’t. As CS Lewis said, “The home is the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose, and that is to support the ultimate career.”

 

Second Generation Giving January 23, 2007

Filed under: church,Culture,Leadership,Youth — Sam George @ 10:00 pm

In this post-Christmas season of the year as our holiday shopping bills are reaching our mailboxes, I want to raise a rather controversial topic in the immigrant churches. Many pastors in the Indian American churches have told me that second generation gives far less money to the church. Why is that? ‘We taught them in sunday schools, nurtured them through adolescents and even got them married, yet they are less frequently attend the church, less involved with the church and gives less money to the church. What more do we have to do win their trust?’

I have raised some of the second generation’s view on their affliation to the immigrant churches, including money in the Coconut Book. But often the second generation see the Indian churches as their “parent’s church”. It is yet to become their own church. Church allegience cannot be taken for granted, but reclaimed for every generation. Also you will hear rhetoric like “we don’t give to institutions, but to causes” or “We are motivated when they see where their money goes and how they are used.” They want to be involved in deciding where their money goes.

The American born generation also carry burdens of debt, parental expectations and consumerism. In many cases, they are not as financially successful as their highly motivated immigrant parents. With less income, payment to college debts and higher lifestyle choices, they are left with very little for church. Moreover Indian churches stand guilty of not having taught biblical stewardship and healthy view of money to the next generation.

It is high time, church leader take a close look at the next generations financial commitments and be engaged in winning their hearts before their wallets.

 

Reverse Brain Drain – Indian Diaspora returning to India January 20, 2007

Filed under: India,News,Youth — Sam George @ 1:44 am

Last month, a good friend returned to Chicago after 6 months on an assignment in Hyderabad. Having grown up entirely in United States (in Chicago and briefly in California for college), he was excited about the opportunity to go to India on work. He used superlatives to describe his experience there – the work culture, professionalism, skill etc. Of course, he wants to go back.

Most of 80s and 90s we heard a lot of brain drain. India loosing its brightest minds to the Western nations. American universities and corporations tapped into brain power of India by offering them opportunities for professional excellence. And we did well.

But in recent years there has been a reversal of this phenomena, rightly called reverse brain drain. In this column, I had mentioned many recent reversal trends among global Indian diaspora. But this one is big… it is not just an American phenomena, but it is happening among Indians in Britians. See this recent report. The booming economy of India and the Ministry for Overseas Indians’ attempt to connect up with its long lost cousins are yielding positive results in attracting wealth, knowledge and experience of the global Indian diaspora. (PBD – the annual party of overseas Indians was held in New Delhi last week.) No wonder sites like www.return2india.org, R2I Club and other Indian portal regularly carry features on returning Indians.

I asked my friend if he heard about abduction of son of a returning Indian techy in Delhi. He brushed it off saying that is lots of media hype and a very strange incident. He is all ready to be posted again on assignment, if not he is looking for a job in India!

Indian Americans are also returning to India for Christian ministry. See article Indian Nachos on the Coconut Generation website. Trained and exposed in some of the best places, the emerging generation is catching a vision of India. They are returning to India not as land of their forefathers, but as a place where the Spirit is moving and they sense a strange tugging in their heart to be part of that spiritual awakening of our times. Do you want to be part of the action (of the Spirit)?

 

Digital Addiction January 15, 2007

Filed under: Culture,Leadership — Sam George @ 3:44 am

We live in a world of emails, cell phones, instant messages, Blackberry and what not. Life without them almost seem impossible. In Jan issue of Fast Company, I found this article to be interesting – all these technology tools are aimed at helping us become more productive, right? Wrong!

“A Day-timers survey confirmed that instant-communication technology is making it harder, not easier, to get things done. The number of people who report feeling very productive has dropped from 83% in 1994 to 51% today.”

When we are driven by these tools and we fail to define clear-cut boundaries, these tools can become more a liability. Parallel processing will be key feature to modern lifestyle. Will we be able to think through and think clearly issues even as we check emails on PDA, browse web on our laptop and try to pick up a ringing phone?

 

Teen Boom & Generation Gap January 11, 2007

Filed under: church,Culture,Ministries,News,Youth — Sam George @ 8:21 pm

In many parts of the world there is teenage boom…much like baby boom in USA after the second world war. Currently, the total population of 10 -24 year-olds is estimated at 1.5 billion, of which 86 percent live in developing countries. The growth is most rapid in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia. Some suggest the possibility of a critical, and potentially dangerous, global generation gap as emerging adolescent populations age and their political and economic expectations rise.

The World Bank’s 2006 World Development Report found:

– Nearly half of all unemployment in the world is among young people.
– 500,000 young people under the age of 18 are recruited by military and paramilitary groups.
– 300,000 have been involved in armed conflict in more than 30 countries.
– 13 million adolescents give birth each year.

– Young people account for nearly half of all new HIV infections.

Many nations and global developmental agencies are keeping a close eye on this growing breed of teens. What does church or youth ministries have to say about this?

In a book on the impact of globalization on missions called “One world or many”, I have written two chapters on global emerging cultures of youth, which I had called as TechnoCulture & TerrorCulture. Young people around the world are gravitating towards one or the other, much like debates of Lexus/Olive Tree or McWorld/Jihad.

 

Piety in America January 10, 2007

Filed under: Leadership,Ministries,Resources,Youth — Sam George @ 10:01 pm

The Institute of Study of Religions at Baylor University released its findings on Piety in America. It reported that Americans are extremely religious. Nine out of ten Americans affiliate themselves with a congregation, denomination, or other religious group. Less than 5 percent of Americans claim a faith outside of the Judeo-Christian mainstream.

Among those who would label themselves as mainline Protestants, 22 percent believe the Bible is an ancient book of history and legends, another 22 percent never read the Bible, 12 percent never pray, and 14 percent never attend a weekly service.

But not everything looks good. Nearly a quarter of those surveyed would describe God as distant and not active in the world. They think of God as a cosmic force which set the laws of nature in motion, not as the engaging Father we find depicted in the Scriptures.

Some of this finding might seem contrary to popular beliefs. Younger generation more spiritual than religious, given up on institutions, drop outs etc. But this new religiosity is also pseduo in nature – a blend of various strains, rise of polytheism, post-modern concotion.