Meet the Millennial Parents
Data show that while a majority of young adults have delayed having children, there is a small percentage who have chosen to begin a family. Who exactly are the 35 percent of young adults who, unlike the majority of their peers, have children? Barna wanted to know more about this segment—who represent a growing minority of their generation, a counter to many stereotypes about young adults’ delayed adolescence and a fresh area of research. Below is a Q&A excerpt from The Connected Generation report featuring Dorit Reichstein Hejslet, Communications for Open Doors Denmark and mother to three children, and Konstantin Kruse, a pastor living in Germany and father to two children.
Barna: Do you think the approach of parents in your age group will be different from that of previous generations?
Dorit: We are scrutinized every day in the media about what we should and should not do in order not to screw up our kids. We are told that we as parents are solely responsible for our children’s mental and physical well-being, and we have to be almost perfect. There is a lot of shaming toward parents today. I have a hard time relaxing. I am constantly focused on doing my very best and that sometimes makes me a worried, anxious parent.
Barna: Do you feel different from non-parents in your generation?
Konstantin: Many of my closest friends are also in my generation and have kids. I think differences between parents and non-parents in my generation are the differences in the amount of responsibility. When you have kids you spend your time, energy and money differently. Parents are also typically not as flexible with the schedule as perhaps those without kids.
Barna: How has the responsibility of being a parent affected your faith practice?
Konstantin: The hope is that they see what a natural and authentic relationship with Jesus looks like—whether it is serving the community, leading in church or how I love my family. I understand that it starts with me being an example for my family so that they can see what it looks like to serve the Lord—and through this example they will then hopefully also know and serve him.
Dorit: It is so much harder to focus on singing, praying or listening to the sermon with kids at church. To be touched by the Word and the Spirit is hard because I am constantly interrupted. I have to give a word of encouragement to a fellow church member with my baby on my hip. It might not feel very holy or like it used to, but it is my kind of discipline and spiritual devotion, and I think God knows how devoted it really is.
Barna: As you think about the next 10 years, what would you like to see happen in your life?
Dorit: We are renovating an old house. It’s our dream to see this turn into a home and a base for us and our children. I want to bless others through our home. I want to settle in the town where we moved and plant deep roots, show love to this city, serve my neighborhood by showing them Jesus and his love.
Konstantin: In the next 10 years, I would like to support my wife in her calling and would love to see my kids loving Jesus and see the Church thriving. Personally, I would love to become a better leader and do my best to help others find their own purpose and calling in ministry.