Monday, May 07, 2012

How Will The Next Generation Be Known?

Photo Credit: San Jose Library
My parents' generation is known as the Baby Boomers. I'm a member of Generation X. Those that came after me are called the Millennials. But how will my children's generation be referred?

From USA Today:
"But exactly what do you call a generation of techno-junkies? How about Generation Wii — after the wildly popular home video game console? Or, perhaps, the iGeneration — with a wink and nod to Apple's iPod and iPhone? Both are in the running. So are a bunch of other tech-drenched monikers, including Gen Tech, Digital Natives and, of course, Net Gen.

"Everyone wants to be the first to come up with the name," says Cheryl Russell, dubbed the goddess of demography at New Strategist Publications, who is one of several with claims to have coined the term iGeneration, which she says she created three years ago. "It's cool — and you gain credibility."

The more important question: What does one generation have to gain — or lose — from the name with which it's tagged? Certainly, no one wants to be linked to a generation of deadbeats or lowlifes. Little wonder those names have never risen to the top of any generational list. None officially dubbed Pathetic Generation — at least, not yet. But some might call Gen Z — a term still in-the-running for the next generation — rather off-putting. If Boomers felt a sense of common strength, Millennials may have felt a sense of shared destination. Ultimately, a generational name reflects its hope or pessimism. 
"Generational labels don't always reflect reality," says psychology professor and generational writer Jean Twenge. "Often, they reflect the hopes of what people want a generation to be."
The world that my children is growing up in is much different than the reality in which I was raised. Technology plays a much more important role as access to information and the ability to communicate much more readily has dramatically affected our lifestyles and choices. In addition, the increasing ethnic diversity and religious pluralism greatly influences how we view our world and those different from ourselves.

My hope for my children (and those of their generation) is that they are able to leverage technology to make a difference in the world and not merely for vain pursuits. My desire is that the diversity that surrounds them would enable them to relate to others in a more compassionate manner than those of us of earlier eras often have.

My dream is that they would become known as a generation of people that selflessly give of themselves so that others would be able to find a life that can't be attained merely through advanced technology or fancy gadgets. It is a life that is discovered through an encounter with our Creator. And all of the things that this next generation will be known for -- a strong sense of community,  a desire for service to others, technological adeptness -- can be used for God's glory. That brings me great hope -- no matter what they may end up being called.

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