Tim Elmore’s book, Generation iY: Secrets to Connecting with Today’s Teens and Young Adults in the Digital Age helps readers to understand how being born into a world of instant access of information through the internet, smart phones, and tablets impacts adolescence and young adulthood. The final blog of this series will outline what can be done now to bring the best out of generation iY so that they can in fact change the world.
Elmore discusses some important firsts that generation iY have experienced that no other generation has been through. Generation iY is set to be the largest generation ever, 86 million strong, in comparison to the 76 million Baby Boomers and 45 million Generation X’ers. This is significant as the Baby Boomers begin to retire and there are not enough Generation X’ers to fill their leadership positions. Generation iY young adults have the opportunity to step up and start to lead. Another significant first for the generation iY’ers is that they have experienced more tragedy and trauma than any other generation. From 9/11, to Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Parkland, to natural disasters (earthquakes, tsunami’s, and hurricanes) around the world, generation iY has been through it all. These events have created resilient individuals that want to help the survivors and communities affected by those tragedies. Finally, from a historical perspective, when there is a population bulge of youth, violence often follows. With so many young people who are looking for a cause or a voice or to be valued, some end up going the wrong direction for a wrong cause. With all this insight and information, it is up to today’s parents, teachers, coaches, mentors, and leaders to give generation iY’ers the skills and tools to lead into the future, instead of protecting them from the harshness of reality and the world.
So what do we do? According to Elmore, generation iY is driven by an inward passion rather than extrinsic rewards. “It’s a burning desire to serve, not to earn; to make a difference, not just a buck.” To help generation iY find their calling, we can guide them to make five critical decisions. What are my values? What vision do I want to pursue? What is my virtue? What’s the best venue for me? And what vehicles will I employ to help reach my goal? These decisions provide generation iY with a moral compass, blueprint for their career path, an understanding of their best tools to serve and influence others, the most suitable context, and finally, the actions necessary to reach their goals. Parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors must lead and guide generation iY to answer these questions for themselves. And we can’t protect them from every unpleasantry along the way, generation iY is ready and resilient enough to take on the world!
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