T.L.P. Episode 49: The Millennial Pendulum: parenting a post-millennial

You heard all the Millennial jokes, and you don’t want your kids turning out that way. Or, you remember how you parents raised you and are determined not to do the same things with your kids. But is that a good motivation for your parenting? Join AMBrewster as he discusses The Millennium Pendulum and how Christian Parents can avoid it.

Click here for Episode Notes.






Simon Sinek – “Millennials in the Workplace.”

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Just about the time the next generation turns 25 sociologists, cultural watch-dogs, psychologists, and the entertainment industry feel the need to brand them. This has happened with nearly every modern generation. In fact, some researchers say there are representatives from five generations still alive today.

There are different names and birth years assigned by various organizations, and many of you are probably familiar with the Traditionalists or Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, and Generation X. And then we had that pretend generational marker called Generation Y. Honestly, I’m not certain whether I’m a GenXer or not because — as I mentioned — few people really agree with the dates. But according to the Center for Generational Kinetics, I belong on the early end of the group that’s getting the most attention right now — the Millennials.

But did you know they’ve already started labeling the children born after 1995?

But more on that in a minute.

Recently Ryshan Johnson sent me an email that said,

I want to scream from the rooftops what a blessing TLP is to parents who have a desire to be Ambassadors but no guidance in what that looks and sounds like.”

She said so much more in the email, but I wanted to share that thought with you.

I can’t tell you how much sentiments like this thrill my heart. I’m honored to serve your families, and I want you to know the blessing you are to me and my family.

Ryshan also mentioned she’s going to leave a review on iTunes, and I’d like to encourage you to do the same. Listen, it’s not about having me read your review on the show — though I love doing that. It’s about iTunes giving TLP a higher ranking so more searching and hurting and learning parents can find us. If you haven’t Subscribed and Shared, Rated and Reviewed, it’s as easy as logging into iTunes on your computer or mobile device and searching for “Truth Love Parent” in the main library. Once you click on the show, you’ll be able to easily find the rate and review tab and the subscribe button. Of course, you can review us on any of the directories you listen to us on from Acast to Google Play to SoundCloud.

Thank you in advance for connecting us with other premeditated parents.

I also want to say before we continue, that Team TLP decided to organize our show into seasons. This won’t affect you because we don’t plan to have any break in-between seasons, but it’s nice to be able to say we’re already a couple weeks into Season 2. Every three months, we’ll enter a new publishing season with new goals, projects, and tools, and we look forward to growing together with your family as the seasons change.

So, let’s see what statisticians are saying about the Millennials and this new generation.


There are a lot of people with things to say about Millennials. But for everyone classifying them, there’s a millennial who disagrees. I have to admit it’s actually a little stereotypically hilarious that the Millennials are the ones making the biggest stink about the labels they’ve been given. Many researchers say millennials are generally self-possessed and narcissistic. An article by TechTarget had this to say,

Having been raised under the mantra ‘follow your dreams’ and being told they were special, they tend to be confident. While largely a positive trait, the Millennial generation’s confidence has been argued to spill over into the realms of entitlement and narcissism. Their expectations may have resulted from the very encouraging, involved and almost ever-present group of parents that became known as helicopter parents.”

Of course, that’s just an informed theory, but there’s this video interview that broke the internet last year. It’s a GenXer/millennial being interviewed by a younger millennial — and people either love it or hate it.

I’m talking about Simon Sinek’s video entitled “Millennials in the Workplace.” If you haven’t seen it, I’ll link it for you in the description, but I have to say I love his content and many of his conclusions. Of course, he’s not speaking from a biblical standpoint at all, but again — it’s intelligent and insightful.

Let me give you just a short listen.

Let me remind you of something my mom hammered into my head:

It doesn’t matter what anyone says and it doesn’t matter what anyone does, you’re responsible to God for your own reactions.”

That means that regardless of the parents you had, you are responsible for responding to Truth. However, as we learned in Episode 42, parents are the most potentially destructive influence in their children’s lives because we teach our children what’s normal. We dictate to them what’s acceptable living. So, we will be held responsible to God and given a millstone necklace if we train our children to rebel against His universal laws and believe lies.

And — as we know — the rear view is always clearer than the windshield. I remember the 90’s when schools not only gave medals to the losers, but some schools stopped keeping points altogether during sporting events lest some child feel like he’s not as good or special as someone else. To be honest, I didn’t need hindsight for this one. Even as a highschooler, I laughed at the ludicrous concept of the self-esteem movement. And I shuttered when I heard Christians touting that Failure Philosophy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bible says that our problem is not that we don’t esteem ourselves enough — the real issue is that we (and our children) esteems ourselves too much . . . and we don’t esteem God enough.

But this is really just the introduction. We’re not hear to solve the millennial problem, though — I will say that those of you who still have influence in the life of your millennials — today’s episode can help you very much. We’re here to discuss what some people are calling Generation Z or iGen or Centennials. The children that were born after 1996.

Most are rightfully hesitant to try to label this generation. At the time of this recording, the oldest iGens are just entering their early twenties. This means that within the next five to ten years we’ll all be making fun of centennials instead of millennials.

But wouldn’t it be great if your children didn’t fit the cultural stereotype? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the negative character traits that so easily define a generation missed your kids?

That’s what we want to talk about today.

Listen, we Gen X and Millennial parents are in danger of doing the exact same things our parents did. Instead of parenting from a firm, unshifting foundation that stands constant regardless of the cultural ebbs and demographic flows . . . we will be tempted to react. Entire generations of parents have defined their parenting model by reacting to all the things that went wrong with the previous generation. D.A.Carson said, “Sometimes bad theology breeds reactionary bad theology.” Nothing good comes from statements like the following:

Our parents were too hard on us with all those rules and expectations. We didn’t like that, so we’re going to show our kids that we’re their friends and that we accept them for who they are. So, we’ll center the family around the kids instead of the parents.”

People like this pamper and coddle their little snowflakes from the harsh sun of reality. They don’t want their darling to be sad, so they sign him up for noncompetitive sports. They can’t allow their children to be told that their actions are a result of a condition called sin-nature, so they devise professional sounding disorders, call them mental illnesses, and tell their kids that they’re victims incapable of being anything more than they are – so they should be true to themselves (whatever that means). And then they surround our kids with technology because “science” told them it would help their little ones to be smarter and more successful and they would build stronger relationship skills via social media.

But fast forward twenty years and we find we’ve created something far worse than Mary Shelley could ever have imagined.

But that’s the story of those who had their parenting chance and chose poorly.

Those of us who were either parented that way or saw everyone else’s parents doing those things, who’s kids haven’t yet been labeled, must be vigilant. Yes, it’s good to take stock, but if we’re not careful, we parents aren’t going to act on the Truth we’ve been given, instead we’ll react against the things in the culture we don’t like . . . just like our parents did.

It’s an unoriginal bent in humanity to swing like a pendulum. It happened to King Rehoboam in I Kings 12 whose older counselors told him one thing and his younger counselors told him the exact opposite. And it’s happening today. That’s why I call this form of parenting “The Parenting Pendulum,” and — to be more specific to this generation — “The Millennial Pendulum.” The younger GenXers are looking at the Millennials and the older Millennials are looking at the younger Millennials and are saying, “We don’t want our kids turning out that way!” And they parent accordingly.

But that has never worked! Whatever this generation dreams up will inevitably be disproven, rejected, and relegated to the bad-ideas drawer. Unfortunately, the ideas that take their place will end up sandwiched in the same place come the next generation.

We’re going to take the remainder of our time to look at two things.

  1. We’re going to do what Proverbs 22 says. We’re going to look ahead of us, see the temptation to parent using The Millennial Pendulum, and we’re going to avoid it. But we need to know what to look out for. And
  2. We’re going to discuss the only correct way to parent the upcoming Centennials.

So, what exactly will  The Millennial Pendulum look like? Just like there really aren’t definitive character traits that can be accurately applied to an entire generation of people, the pendulum responses won’t be the same with everyone either. But if you want to see which ones most of us will struggle with, all we have to do is find a negative millennial characteristic and do the opposite.

Here’s an example:

We’re told that Millennials have no idea how to function within healthy relational constructs. Their interactions are had mostly with screens, they abbreviate their thoughts so much that they’ve started thinking in text language, and economists are genuinely concerned that without the ability to function within committed relationships — and compounded by the fact that too few millennials are able to compete in the current job market — this generation of single, low-to-middle class wage earners who refuse to pool their resources with a partner will cause a significant economic slump.

Listen again to Simon.

So, what’s obvious Pendulumic answer? Take away the devices!

But will this work? Consider this historical example of Pendulum Parenting: Let’s start with a biblical example. Scan through the Old Testament and you’ll see this over and over again. Let people fall low enough, get into enough trouble, and hate their very existence, and eventually the culture will start looking for the deus ex machina. They want some deity to jump out of a cosmic trapdoor and save them. The Jews did it repeatedly for hundreds of years, and we’re actually seeing the beginning of this revolution in our culture.

In response to the moral, church steeples and white picket fences of the 50’s, the 60’s ushered in an unparalleled animosity for authority — especially God’s. So the 60’s and 70’s babies really torqued down on their kids, and we saw an explosion of very rule-centered, facade-encouraging, often-legalistic churches created in the 80’s to react against the rebellion and debauchery of the 60’s and 70’s. But then the 90’s saw a rise in the anti-authority culture again because so many of the kids going to the 80’s and 90’s churches hated the superficial, hypocritical feel of it all. Next thing you know, the “retro” 60’s looking clothes made a comeback and everyone started worshipping at the shrines of the doctor and lawyer — gods of the body and bank respectively.

But look what’s happening now! So many of the older millennials are finding it cool to embrace the concept of God again. Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins, a popular band in the 90’s, made the observation very far ahead of the curve, that popular music had done such a great job ignoring God during the 90’s and early 2000’s that the idea of the divine was one of the only unexplored concepts for modern music. And then recently we see Tim Tebow taking a stand for Christ, mega-churches are selling millennials cool coffee with cool music, movie stars like Shia Lebouf are telling us they’re embracing Christ, and even Mark Zuckerberg is admitting that he thinks belief in the supernatural is an important facet of humanity.

Ladies and gentlemen, so much of this is merely reactionary penduluming.

The bottom line is this — don’t parent your children because you’re afraid of what they may become. That’s reactionary parenting. Parent your children because of what God want’s them to become.

And this is the answer to The Millennial Pendulum. Instead of swinging away from any one behavior, character trait, or social group-think, find God’s Truth and stand on it. Build your house on the rock of the Lord’s perfect, imperishable philosophies that answer the questions and hardships of every generation. As for you and your house, you must serve the Lord regardless of the cultural trends and wagging tongues.

My concept of Sanctified Sustainability is just that. We’ve talked about this a lot recently – Episode 47 was all about it and Snippet #6 discussed it too. I grew up in the generation of Christians who hated movies like Disney’s Pocahontas because they focused too much on worshipping creation. That’s obviously wrong, but I believe it was equally wrong to throw the good out with the bad.

A former student of mine who is regrettably unsaved posted a meme of what the world would be like if democrats ran it on one side and if republicans ran it on the other. And of course, the republican side had churches and big business and environmental ruin while the democratic side had a healthy planet. That’s the cliched stereotype so many “conservative Christians” have created for themselves, because instead of defining their environmental stewardship by God’s unchanging word, they reacted to Fern Gully and Pocahontas and Captain Planet by not only ignoring their divine environmental mandate, but seemingly working against it.

I refused to do the swing. I refused to throw my planet under the bus, but I also refused to worship it and buy into fake science. I chose God’s way.

When it comes to parenting your post-millennials, iGens, Centennials, or Generation Z’s, think about when God founded the nation of Israel. He didn’t say,

Don’t kill because that’s what the Canaanites do, and we know how poorly that’s working out.” He didn’t say, “Don’t eat pigs, because we all know what happened to your grandparents when they ate nothing but bacon.” And He didn’t say, “We’re going to embrace monotheism because we all saw how hard it was for the Egyptians to juggle all those deities.”

No. He grounded His entire law code and every expectation on nothing more than His own character. The first words of the Law were,

I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”

Basically He was saying I know best and can do best. Therefore because of Who I am, here’s how you’re to live.

In Deuteronomy 6 God starts the same way,

The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” And by extension, He says, therefore, this is what you are to do: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.” 

And then right after the most dynamic proclamation concerning the greatest commandment in the universe, we see one of the most applicable verses concerning Christian parenting. Deuteronomy 6:7 says,

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

God says,

Because of who I am, you’re going to love me with everything you are. And because you love me, you’re going to do the things that conform to My character and reject the things that don’t. And you’re going to teach your kids to do the same because there’s nothing more important for you as a parent to talk about.”

Our parenting has nothing to do with anyone else. It doesn’t matter — good or bad — what the Jonses are doing. It doesn’t matter what the Baby Boomers r the Generation Xers or anyone else did or is doing.

Let’s be more practical. It’s doesn’t matter that on one hand we’re exiting a culture of obesity because on the other hand the millennials saw their parents and cringed. I’m not going to side with one against the other. I’m going to do what God says when it comes to eating.

It doesn’t matter that the 90’s saw the explosion and mass-acceptance of the contemporary Christian music movement because people were tired of the same old hymns, but now many of the people who grew up in those churches are migrating away from the performance-centered song services.

I don’t care. I’m going to base my convictions and standards in God’s Word, not our cultural ideas or reactionary thought. My convictions — based in the Bible — may look an awful lot like someone else’s, or they may look completely different, but I refuse to merely react to bad ideas. I want to embrace the good ideas God lays out in the Book He promised would give me everything I need for life and godliness and parenting.

Let’s check out some family wisdom starting with David in Psalm 119,

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

David’s son Solomon presents the flip side of his dad’s teaching in Proverbs 14:11 where he says,

The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish.”

The next verse tells us why the house of the wicked will be destroyed:

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”

So, if my kids follow God’s plan, they will not only be pure and protected from sin, but they won’t be destroyed.”

Of course, this isn’t true because man figured it out, God taught them. And many generations later, the God-Man Jesus proclaimed the same thing in Matthew 7:

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.

Let’s look at one final Millennial Problem. How should we parent our children when it comes to their college choices? Millennials are facing difficulty because they graduated from college with liberal arts degrees, but are finding the economy leaning toward blue-collar jobs, technology, and skilled craftsmen. The Pendulum Parents are already swinging for their elementary Generation Zers. Have you noticed how many coding programs there are for kids? Schools are pushing STEM curriculum incredibly hard.

But, Ambassador Parents understand that though each generation needs to embrace the opportunities set before them, the question ”What do you want to be when you grow up?” isn’t really a good one. The more important question is, “What does God want you to be when you grow up?”

Someone asks a child what he wants to be, and child says a musician. Well, a sociologist might decry such a dream and motivate the child to consider the sciences as a profession and music as a hobby. But that’s just reactionary advice.

The biblical parent takes his child to the Bible in order to learn how God wants Him to live. They’ll also investigate the child’s life in order to determine the unique skills and passions God’s instilled in him. And then they’ll try their hardest as the child grows to choose activities, side-jobs, degrees, training, and vocations that they know will please the Lord . . . regardless of what the rest of the world is doing.

Don’t be a Pendulum Parent who reacts to the worlds Failure Philosophies. Be an Ambassador Parent who acts on God’s Perfect Philosophies.


I encourage you to download our episode notes linked in the description, and check out Simon Sinek’s video, but please note that Mr. Sinek is not presenting observations steeped in God’s Word. Despite his amazing observations, there’s a good deal of error that slips through.

Today I’d like to extend a very huge thank you to Ray and Carolyn for their generous gift to Truth.Love.Parent. Ray and Carolyn have two kids, seven grandchildren, and own a shop called Sew Fine by Design, and they wanted to worship their Lord by partnering with TLP. They not only support us as patrons, but they also listen to every podcast, share our social media posts, tell just about everyone they know about us, and pray for us on a regular basis.

If you’d be interested in partnering with TLP like Ray and Carolyn, I’d encourage you to click the “support TLP” link in the description.

And join us next time for a look into “The Value of Disagreeing Children.”

And the next time you’re sitting at your computer like the Millennial you are, Like and Follow TLP. on Facebook and me on Twitter @AMBrewster.

You can waste your time reacting to the poor choices of the world, or you can invest your time by implementing the perfect choices of God. Choose wisely.

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