I have written before about the generation of younger kids who’ll follow Millennials and Generation iY. They’re still young (12 or younger), but they will experience a different reality than their older siblings, aunts and uncles born in the 1990s. If you teach, coach or parent kids, you should be aware of the coming changes.
Let me illustrate the shift I see coming as I study demographics and culture. Historian Neal Howe calls younger kids “The Homelanders” since they’re born since the launch of the Dept. of Homeland Security. Based on reports by the Monthly Labor Review, The Futurist and World Population Prospects, 2012 U.N. edition, they will display a move from today’s reality to tomorrow’s:
|Generation Y and iY (1984-2002)||Homelanders (2003-2021)|
|1. Use technology to be entertained||1. Will use technology to learn|
|2. Compete with 80 million for jobs||2. Will compete with 172 million for jobs|
|3. Had two to four siblings||3. Will likely have 0-2 siblings|
|4. Share the planet with 7.5 billion||4. Will share the planet with 11 billion|
|5. Largest population is peers||5. Largest population will be elderly|
|6. Growing problem with obesity||6. Gigantic problem with obesity|
|7. Confident and self-absorbed||7. Cautious and self-conscious|
What Do We Do with Our Kids as Things Shift?
The reasons for these shifts are many. Population, technology, family philosophy, and the marketplace all play a role. Fortunately, millions of parents are regaining balance after twenty-five years of sheltering, over-indulging, and self-esteem expansion that came from pushing to give their kid advantages. Educators are beginning to shift their pedagogy and curriculum in order to focus on graduating career-ready students.
To prepare them well, may I suggest some of the changes we must make as we work with kids born since the beginning of the 21st century?
- Get them moving. Encourage them to balance time in front of a screen with time out and about with people, exercising their bodies and souls.
- Help them take appropriate risks. I’m not suggesting they be reckless, but to take calculated risks and try adventuresome ventures.
- Enable them to use their portable device to search and learn about things that interest them. Teach them to dig, to “squeeze their own juice.”
- Teach them to not fear failure. Fear is a chief emotion in our society. So many are motivated by our fears. Danger is everywhere so help them try, fail, then overcome it.
- Expose them to different generations and help them interact. They’ll need to learn to connect with older people, which may feel like a cross-cultural relationship.
- Equip them to think for themselves. Millions in our culture let the media do their thinking for them. Help your young kids to interpret what’s happening around them.
I love hearing about parents and teachers who do this. When my kids were young, I had them watch the news on TV from time to time, then choose one of the reported problems and ask themselves: “If I were in charge of this problem, what would I do?”
When my wife and I held parties, we would have our kids learn to answer the door, invite them in, take their coat, and serve them. It was our way to get them comfortable connecting with various generations.
Think about it. The future is coming fast, and we will spend the rest of our lives in it. Let’s prepare our children to lead the way as they enter it.
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