What will we call the emerging generation?
If it were up to you, what name or label would you give the new generation of young people?
Recently I read an article on this very topic. Some suggested labels included “Generation Net” or “iGen” because most have grown up online. Another suggested label was “Homelander” because they have grown up with public emergency at home and globally (like September 11 and the ongoing war on terror around the World.) Another idea was around the theme of the “Silent Generation” taken from the Great Depression because of the recent economic downturn.
The potential labels elicited three themes that are marking young people:
- Internet and Technology
- Home and Public Emergency
- Economic Volatility and Uncertainty
How do you think those three themes are marking the souls of young people? Take a minute and respond. Journal or simply write a few words about that question.
Below the article, I noticed a multitude of comments about the new generation.
I estimate 90% of the comments were negative about perceived qualities and other possible harsh labels of the new generation, therefore demonstrating what I see as a major problem: Every generation looks down on the next, and instead of developing them, they condemn them prematurely. Thus, setting the new generation up to fail in a self-fulfilling prophecy.
So, how can we respond positively to these markings on the new generation?
- Mentor or share your wisdom in any platform to this new generation. (A mentor can change the trajectory of a young person’s life!)
- Train them now on how to care for their souls. (Habits begin and form in young people)
- Encourage others to build into the new generation. (Who do you know that could inspire young people?)
I think we all know deep down that this new generation will not respond to negativity, but will respond to being empowered and believed in. Think back to a time when you were young and someone gave you an opportunity, spoke uplifting words to you, or simply believed in you. Who was it and what did that person say or do?
The need for encouraging leaders, shepherds, mentors, group leaders, and hope givers to this generation is massive and urgent. Young people are our hope, our future and current leaders, and our greatest long-term investment. Let's teach them all we know! Your words, intentionality, and life can make a difference of a lifetime. Take some time to pray or journal a response to this question: How will you make a difference in the lives of the new generation?
(The article referenced, “Kids labeled 'generation next' before they grow up,” is via)
Guest blogger Tara Rumler is Student Ministries Group Life Director at Willow Creek and a freelance writer. She can be found at www.twitter.com/taraumler where she shares about life and her likes - leader development, coffee, reading, coaching, community, finance, and working out.