The world is strangely concerned about generation “Y” these days. I don’t understand it! Generation “Y” is just the current crop of kids that will eventually rule the world. They are the children of Boomers and Generation “X” parents and they were born between 1980 and 1994. Currently they are aged 16 to 30. Every generation had people in their teens and in their twenties, so why is this group being singled out for critical speculation and deeply negative apprehension?
When I was a kid in the 1950’s it was the beatniks who were singled out for scrutiny by older, wiser adults. “Who or what were beatniks?” you might ask. They were oddly thoughtful people who believed in nonconformity and spent a lot of time reading, writing, and reciting poetry. They wore funny clothing and lived in communes where they played guitars and bongo drums. They believed society had it all wrong and that their deeply literary view of the world was better. The beatniks were followed by the hippies in the 60’s and 70’s. My Goodness, what was with them? Lead by the rock band, the Beatles, they had long hair and multicoloured, multi-patterned clothing. They hated war and they believed in peace and love. “Imagine that!” Most young people of the era embraced hippie-ism in one way or another either through hallucinatory drug use, fashion, music, or social consciousness. Older folks everywhere hated the rock bands of the era just as they hated the lyrics of the songs they sang.
Speaking of music, here are some lyrics from a song written in 1960 and made popular in the 1963 movie, Bye Bye Birdie. “Kids! Why can’t they be like we were...perfect in every way? What’s the matter with kids today?” The song goes on to say, “They are disobedient, disrespectful oafs! Noisy, crazy, sloppy, lazy loafers!” So you see, even a half century ago the younger generation was a huge concern for parents. As is the case today, parents believed that their way of doing things was perfect in every way and that children should conform to their way of thinking if they were going to amount to anything. Keep in mind too, that the kids this song describes went on to become the Boomers and Generation “X” adults that brought more technological advancement, personal luxury, and monetary success to the world than ever seen before. If the kids who were so rudely admonished in this song had been more like their parents they might not have gone on to invent computers, microwave ovens, cellular telephones, and crazy glue. The crazy, sloppy, lazy kids of the 60’s went on to be the innovators, inventors and geniuses of the 90’s.
So, why are so many people worried about Generation “Y”? The answer is simple. Fear of the unknown and the natural human tendency to reject new things and new ideas drives our thoughts. We fear that which is foreign or unusual to us. We know that our way works for us so why should we accept change? What we have to keep in mind though, is that we made Generation “Y” what they are today. We created an attitude of entitlement in them and we made them believe they are special. While we were raising our kids, we were forsaking the values our parents gave us so that our kids could have everything that we did not. Now that they have everything we could possibly give them, they want more! Boomers and Generation “X” created Generation “Y” and since we made so many of them, we need to get on board their bus and help them drive it into the new millennium!
Don’t worry! Generation “Y” is as intelligent and innovative as all previous generations and they will do us proud as they take over the world we are leaving behind.
All the Best!