Monday, Sept. 20, 2010 | 1:42 p.m.
They don’t talk like us, they don’t dress like us, and they don’t think like us. No, I’m not referring to an alien species from Star Trek, even though there are many times when these people feel alien to us. I’m talking about the next generation of leaders — the future of our country and the world.
I know we’ve all said, “What is it about kids today?” It must be every generation’s rite of passage -- not to understand and to complain about the next generation. My parents complained about my generation; they hated our music, hated our hairstyles, and hated the clothes we wore. We were condemned as “never going to amount to anything.” I’m sure their parents said similar things about them as well.
It is time to reverse the trend. We need to praise the next generation. I’ve had the good fortune to coach both high school and club soccer teams and, therefore, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many young men between the ages of 14-18. Although, I’ve not had the opportunity to work as closely with the young women of the next generation, I’m equally confident in them. I think our future is in good hands and following are my reasons.
The next generation is comfortable with itself. While many in my generation struggled with our identity, the young men I know are comfortable with whom they are. They place less importance on what others think of them than what they think of themselves. This is pretty amazing, considering that these young people are growing up in a digital age, where every mistake or gaffe they make can be posted on the Internet immediately for the whole world to see.
The next generation wants to work on meaningful tasks. The young men I know give freely of their time to charitable causes. They perform community service and derive joy from giving their time to making a difference. They give their time without expecting anything in return.
The next generation is colorblind. The next generation has grown up during a time of great diversity in our nation. They have friends of many cultures, religions, races, and backgrounds. They accept people as their friends and teammates regardless of their backgrounds. I’m convinced that they do not see the differences in people but see the similarities first and judge much less than my generation.
The next generation is able to work on multiple tasks at the same time. The next generation of leaders is able to multi-task like no other generation before them. It might be because of the pressure applied by their parents and teachers, but these young people manage multiple tasks, events, and deadlines with ease. Their schoolwork is much more demanding than it was for my generation. They play multiple sports, are involved in civic and church organizations, attend extracurricular events at school, play instruments, and manage all of the other issues of growing up including relationships with friends, parents, teachers, coaches, and boyfriends/girlfriends. They make it look so easy that many of us do not even notice their accomplishments.
The next generation understands the importance of being happy. The next generation of leaders has seen their parents work all their lives and sacrifice many things for their children. In addition to learning this work ethic, the next generation also focuses on having fun and finding balance in their lives. They find ways to take breaks between their tasks for having fun and find alternate ways to combine their work with fun.
The world may have problems, but with the next generation of leaders coming of age, the future is indeed bright.
Thoughts for consideration:
- What have you seen regarding the next generation?
- What can we learn from the next generation?
Until next time…