“Kids these days!”
We have all heard it! We have probably even been part of the conversations that question the ability of our youth and wonder if there is any hope for the future. Maybe, just maybe, older generations (myself included) have these concerns….
- Poor work ethic and lack of dedication
- You expect me to do what?
- I’ll just quit and find something else.
- Consumed by technology
- How can I possibly function without a phone?
- I’m going to go to the game tonight, but I’ll be spending most of the time on my phone.
- Inability to have a face to face conversation
- Eye contact…what’s that?
- Lack of writing skills
- What do you mean abbreviations and emojis are not appropriate in a letter or resume?
- Sense of entitlement
- Where is my reward? I showed up. (Participation trophies for all!)
Not all of Generation Z (Gen Z) demonstrate these concerns, but collectively they often get a bad rap. Let’s define Gen Z so we are all on the same page. Gen Z includes anyone born between 1995 and 2012 (currently 6 years old to 23 years old).
Truth of the matter is these generalizations can be hard for a Gen Z to overcome. These labels often overshadow and require individuals to prove themselves. This is not a one size fits all or even a one size fits most. These youngsters are our future babysitters, tradesmen, business owners, teachers…I think you get the picture! Simply put, everyone should be treated as an individual!
Even though we scratch our head and wonder what this world is coming to and who will sustain the work force, there is still hope for the future! After spending several days at our local county fair, it is evident that there are hardworking youngsters out there learning leadership, citizenship and life skills that are invaluable!
Regardless of age, we all look up to someone and strive to duplicate their actions. Leaders are good at communicating and inspiring others. They are honest, accountable and able to make decisions.
A quick walk through the livestock barns at the fair or a quick stop in the junior fair board office and these skills become quite evident! You can see older youth showing younger ones how to properly set an animal in preparation for the show, or how to properly groom an animal, or simply sharing what it takes to raise an animal. Groups can be seen working together to set up pens or taking turns watching the animals. In the junior fair board office, youngsters are fielding questions and requests for visitors that walk through their door. It’s all about working together and sometimes it takes a leader to provide this motivation!
Membership within a community is a given, regardless of effort. Goodcitizenship pertains to the quality of this membership. There is a major concern with sense of entitlement, right? Good citizenship and entitlement do not mix very well, kind of like water and oil.
A goal with citizenship is to encourage the betterment of the whole instead of the individual. In a world that is so self-centered, this is challenging. The youth clubs and organizations participating at the fair are working together throughout the year to make their community better. Crowned fair royalty travel from county to county sharing happenings within the community and networking with other committed citizens. Herein lies another example that we can have hope for the future!
We are surrounded by technology and it is not going away…ever! While it has created several concerns, there are still important life skills that need to be learned. Fair projects include completing a book…hello writing skills! But it does not stop there! For completion, a judging with face to face interaction also happens. This can be nerve-racking, but wow! What a great experience to go through starting at such a young age!
You can also add responsibility, discipline and a strong work ethic to these valuable learned life skills, which are continually worked on throughout the year and put on display during the fair.
Oh and don’t forget about the very important skill of having a good time and finding time to enjoy the simple pleasures.
“These kids are our future!”
Despite the doubts in Gen Z, there is hope for the future! The younger generations are working to make the best better! Mark my word…these kids will be our future leaders and contributing citizens with commendable life skills. Remember to look at each person as an individual and it may leave you pleasantly surprised.
Speaking of youth and their use of technology, remember they are watching what we do. Let’s do our best to keep them safe by setting a good example and ignoring our phones while driving. To read on, simply click the image below.