BreakPoint: Student Leadership University

Treating Peter Pan Syndrome

I’ve spoken before on BreakPoint about what some have called “failure to launch,” or Peter Pan Syndrome.  Today I offer something we can do about it.

Last year the Pew Research Center made headlines when it reported that, for the first time in more than a century, more young people in their 20s were living with Mom and Dad than with their husband, wife, or domestic partner. According to the U.S. Census, in 1960, only one in six 25-year-olds still lived with his or her parents. In 2014, one in three did!

Some of phenomenon can be attributed, no doubt, to changes in the labor market and the spiraling costs of college debt. Over such things young people have little control.

But part of this problem is also due to what might be called Peter Pan Syndrome, along with the motto, “I don’t ever want to be a man. I always want to be a little boy and to have fun.” Those suffering from this condition, men and women, are functionally children living in adult bodies. They never grew up. Why?

Well, first and foremost, those suffering from “perpetual adolescence” have a worldview problem. Many have come to think that the world revolves around them. Gods of their own tiny universes, they haven’t apprehended the truth that “man’s chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy Him forever,” as the Westminster Shorter Catechism puts it. They do not see themselves as role players in God’s plan to restore all things under the lordship of Jesus Christ.

It’s easy to see how young people who think their chief end is to glorify self and enjoy the world ‘til they die end up bored and unmotivated about things that really matter.

And tragically, many Christian young people have imbibed this deadly cultural poison. Like their secular peers, they have little idea of their place in God’s world and the difference it should make in their lives. They may go to church and may have even made a “decision” for Jesus, but their thinking is just as confused as their unchurched neighbors. So what’s the cure?

Besides a renewed commitment to prayer and the Bible, let me suggest a Christian worldview experience that can change their thinking and their direction in life. It’s a multi-year program called Student Leadership University, put on by my friends Brent Crowe and Jay Strack. SLU 101 which will be held next year in San Antonio, Orlando, New York, and California, challenges high school students to “Think, Dream, and Lead.” As Brent often asks young people, “What would you do for the glory of God if you knew you would not fail?”

SLU 101 includes leadership instruction taught by world-class communicators, worldview development training by leading Christian apologists, and—because there’s nothing wrong with it—afternoons of fun, like roller coasters and such. But like everything at SLU, it’s fun with a purpose.

As Jay says, “You are the same person five years from now as you are today except the places you go, the people you meet, the books you read and the Scripture you memorize.” Yes, exactly the same, which is why Peter Pan Syndrome doesn’t go away on its own. But don’t get the idea that SLU 101 is simply another exercise in knowledge transfer.

Changing one’s worldview means changing one’s thinking. Student Leadership University is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will teach your young person how to think and lay the foundation for a solid, Christian worldview.

And by the way, grads of SLU 101 move on to 201, 301, and eventually 401 in future years. Each experience takes it up a notch in both intensity and results.

So if your student is ready to escape Peter Pan Syndrome, and the cultural disservice of low expectations that afflict teens today, in order to embrace future-tense thinking, character-driven decision-making, ownership of biblical values, and a commitment to influence through service, check out Student Leadership University.

But don’t delay. A volume discount is available for groups of 12 or more. And if you register by November 17, use the promo code SLUBREAKPOINT for an individual discount. See the link below.


Student Leadership University: Treating Peter Pan Syndrome

Check out the opportunities for your high school and college age students at the Student Leadership University. Click here for more information.



Stuck In Your Parents’ Basement? Don’t Blame The Economy
  • Ben Casselman | | May 27, 2016
The Peter Pan Syndrome
  • Marty Nemko | Psychology Today | May 13, 2016
Peter Pan Syndrome
  • Kristen Houghton | Huffington Post | November 10, 2014

Comment Policy: Commenters are welcome to argue all points of view, but they are asked to do it civilly and respectfully. Comments that call names, insult other people or groups, use profanity or obscenity, repeat the same points over and over, or make personal remarks about other commenters will be deleted. After multiple infractions, commenters may be banned.

  • Jason Taylor

    Uh, it is less appropriate to live with ones parents then with ones domestic partner? That sounds like a polysyllabic way to say, “mistress”. I am interested to hear how you explain that.

  • Jason Taylor

    The article seems to imply that fornication is preferable to an arrangement that is economically practical, would save a lot of expense in housing, is a potential encouragement to social cohesion and is not forbidden by Scripture or the Tradition of the Church or any such source. Unless you wish to site, “a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife.” In which case celibacy is forbidden too as is patrilocal marriage and patronymic naming. Or maybe only every man should marry and women are not supposed to marry at all. Or maybe just one man in the entire history of the world should leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife as the verse is singular.

    Unless one of these things is the case I suspect you have more urgent sins to worry about then people bunking with their parents which is a normal custom in many cultures.

  • Lynn W.

    In addition to the Student Leadership University, if you are in the Southern California area, I would highly recommend Wheatstone Ministries ( whose goal is “inviting youth into Christian adulthood.”
    P.S. I don’t think that the responders below are really getting the point. They are picking up on peripheral issues. Check out what Wheatstone and SLU are really all about and they might understand better.

  • disqus_MG7XgmMuEx

    SLU sounds like a good idea, but I have to question the “leadership” aspect of it. I think that one of our society’s biggest problems is the unwritten assumption that a person has to be a leader in order to be significant. But not everybody can be a leader. We need Godly followers as well. Similarly, there is an unwritten assumption that someone has to go to college in order to be successful.

    I see a lot of these ‘leadership expectations from everybody’ in the church and in church programs and I think we’ve been taken in by the world on this matter. After all, Jesus said that “greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves” (Luke 22:24-27).