The Mindset of 2014 College Grads. What will 2030’s List Look Like?

We had a conversation at our staff lunch today about the Beloit College Mindset List. The list started at the college as an aid to help their faculty understand how to better relate to new students, but it has grown since its inception into a helpful snapshot for people everywhere to understand how rapidly our culture is changing.

Here’s a snippet from this year’s list:

The class of 2014 has never found Korean-made cars unusual on the Interstate and five hundred cable channels, of which they will watch a handful, have always been the norm. Since “digital” has always been in the cultural DNA, they’ve never written in cursive and with cell phones to tell them the time, there is no need for a wrist watch. Dirty Harry (who’s that?) is to them a great Hollywood director. The America they have inherited is one of soaring American trade and budget deficits; Russia has presumably never aimed nukes at the United States and China has always posed an economic threat.

It’s a pretty fun read with a list of 75 items, some of which made me feel pretty old at the ripe old age of 31.

Looking to the future to when my oldest daughter will graduate (possibly) in the year 2030, I imagine the world will be very, VERY different. Here are some ideas that I think might make the list in twenty years:

  • Will think it’s a bargain to pay $5 per gallon for gas.
  • Won’t have a clue what DVDs or CDs are.
  • Blockbuster won’t even be a memory for them.
  • Apple will be seen as an old, unhip company instead of the elite buzz they have now.
  • Will laugh at their parents talking about facebook, since it will be replaced by something newer and better.
  • Won’t know how to use a computer mouse, since they’ll grow up with touch-screens like the iPad.
  • The daily printed newspaper won’t exist in any form.
  • A “home phone” won’t make any sense in their minds.
  • They won’t understand having to schedule a time to watch a TV show or movie since they’ll be able to watch whatever they want whenever and wherever they are.
  • Going to college will be less popular than taking online classes.

As a church leader, I think it’s good for us to keep an eye on what’s happening in culture around us. I’ve written previously on what churches can learn from the demise of the print industry and I think preachers everywhere should keep their eye on the culture so that they can best present the never-changing message of the Gospel to an ever-changing world. We probably could use an update to the statement attributed to Karl Barth to “Read the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other,” don’t you think?

What do you think the list might include in 20 years? Will my list be accurate at all?

Image by flickr user Matti Mattila

Little Changes Can Make a BIG Difference


The New Year is off and running. If you’re like a lot of people you had new habits and resolutions that you were wanting to do this year that may or may not be going so well. The good news I have for you is that it’s never too late to get started in making changes in your life and those changes don’t have to be life-altering to make a difference.

Let me give you a personal example.

Last year I decided I needed to lose weight and get in shape. I also thought that the best way for me to stay motivated to do that was to run a half-marathon. When I made this decision I was doing nothing athletic. The closest thing to a sport that I was doing was playing men’s slow-pitch softball, which is about as athletic as walking from the couch to the refridgerator to get piece of cake. Going from running 0 miles to 13.1 miles didn’t happen overnight. In fact, it took me five months of training to get there.

Not everyone will be able to run 13.1 miles, but you don’t have to do somthing that big to make a big differnce in your life. Another personal example is where I’ve chosen to park my Jeep when I get to the office. I decided last year that I should always park a little bit further from the entrance so that I walk just a little bit further every day. It’s not that much further, just 90 feet from where I would normally park. That doesn’t seem like a big deal, but let’s add it up.

90 feet extra walked
x2 round-trip (180 feet total)
x3 leaving and coming back each day (540 feet)
x5 days a week (2700 feet OR half-mile)

Basically, I’m making myself walk an extra half mile every week simply by parking just a little bit further away from the entrance every day.

From a spiritual sense you can do the same thing. If you’ve wanted to read the Bible more, but you’re not reading it at all right now, don’t fool yourself by thinking you’ll read the Bible for an hour every day. Start with just 3 minutes. Then make it 5. Then before you know it you’ll be reading 15-20 minutes a day.

Make a change today, however small it might seem, and you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve gone when you look back later this year.