Generation +

(This post is a random rant and not part of BTW IDK)

I was born in 1981. I was raised on ninja turtles and He-Man. Our Generation was called Generation X because we were rebels. The generation that came before us was titled the “Baby Boomer” generation because all the men came home from the war and began having children. Everyone is wondering what the next generation will be called. A while ago, someone tried to coin the term “Generation Y” but I think it was just because it came after X, and everyone thought that was a stupid name, and it fizzled. There is a new term flying around called “Millennials” that is gaining traction, but in my opinion having the time in which you lived define you isn’t as good as allowing who you are define the time.

So if I may throw my opinion into the hat… I think we should refer to this next generation as Generation +.

It has been my observation that due to the fractured culture we live in; the amount of media, information, opportunities and possibilities available; and the pace at which life seems to run, this up coming generation wants it all, no matter how contradictory or impossible. Here is an example of things students have told me:

“I want to be happy + rich.”

“I want to do nothing but play video games + I want to get paid a lot of money.”

“I dont want to do school work + I think I deserve a good grade.”

“I want to post my thoughts on the world wide web + I want them to be a secret from my parents.”

“I want to hang out with my friends + text friends that are not there.”

“I want to stand out + I want to fit in.”

“I want to be myself + I want to be like everyone else.”

“I want to be treated like everyone else + treated special.”

“I want to go to heaven + hell.”

This is the result of a fractured culture.

Who you are online isn’t who you are in person. Who you are with your friends, isn’t who you are with your family at church. And it goes deeper than just acting different. It’s not just masks kids change while who they are underneath remains the same, it’s complete identities that they personify. Values, priorities, even habits can change as students adapt to each context to receive what they need from that area of their life. A girl can be a bully online, but she does this to be protective of her friends, at home she is kind and polite so she gets favorable treatment from her parents over her siblings. Our culture has become so fractured that personalities are shattering just to stay connected.

This is the result of an overabundance of media and options.

The younger generations today have more access to more information, more opportunities and more resources than ever before in the history of mankind. Is it any wonder we are having to make new laws like “No texting while driving” or new programs for teachers to catch plagiarizers? The amount of access teens have to content is unprecedented.

Imagine painting a picture (or your wold view) using only two colors. Now imagine someone gives you a few thousand colors. You may feel a little overwhelmed. How do you incorporate all this color into your painting?  And what we see happening is that the current generation is choosing to paint multiple picture with a few colors each instead of one picture with all colors. And the end result is young people with multiple paintings, or world-views, of this life.

This is the result of the pace of life.

There are multiple things we can point at that show how we have streamlined our lives and cut out wasted time:

  • Mobile phones. Don’t wait to get to a phone, you have one with you!
  • The internet on your phone, Dont wait to get to a computer, one is in your phone!
  • Self serve check out lines. Don’t wait in line for a clerk, check out yourself!
  • Internet on your fridge. Don’t run to the store, have them deliver to you!

Time has become our most valuable commodity and we choose to adopt anything that will make tasks happen faster or get us results quicker. As a result of this style of living, we think we can accomplish more but end up experiencing less, and short circuiting a much needed process of exploration.

When I was in High School, you either did an after school activity or you didn’t, and if you did, you only did one. If you were a geek, you did math club or chess, and if you were an athlete you did some sort of sport. Today teens are shuttled from one sport to another, season to season, league to league. I once had to pick up a kid from a band camp and run him to soccer practice because his parents were running his sisters to and from each of their dance recitals! There are students taking multiple Advance Placement (AP) classes. I know one student who took so many AP classes that he actually graduated from high school a year early and is now on his way to college. And it’s not just that we are pushing students to do more, we are setting up expectations of them achieving more! I was watching ESPN and was surprised to find out they are now covering pee-wee league games! No pressure kid, but the whole world is watching.

So, to the Generation +,

burn bright and hot. Do all that this wold has to offer, experience everything. Experience as much as you can at the same time. Have an absolute blast. Fill your mind, your pockets and hearts with all this world has to offer. Seriously, enjoy this amazing world and all the wonderful things in this time period. But if by chance all that this world has to give (and even the future brings) does not satisfy, would you give God a chance? Would you bring the pieces of your life to a single source and wait on Him?

If so, I’d love to talk to you about how to do that. 

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