My mom believed that “You’ll get mostly what you expect, so you may as well expect the very best,” and she has lived that way every day that I’ve known her.
If you believe, for instance, that kids are basically lazy, worthless, and entitled, there’s evidence all around you.
We complain sometimes that young people are entitled, and I’ll admit sometimes they act like it. How do you think they became that way? We trained them. Starting from the first day of kindergarten, we’ve given them a reward for every effort. By the time they’re 18, why wouldn’t they want to know if the reward is worth the effort? Why wouldn’t they feel like getting the reward ahead of time is the best way to ensure whatever effort they put forth is well placed?
If, however, you believe that this generation of young people is the best we’ve ever produced, you are surrounded by evidence that you’re right.
These are the best learners we’ve ever trained. A hundred or hundred and fifty years ago, new technologies took 20-30 years to become accepted across our culture. New technologies now come our way every few months. Young people are experts at navigating all the changes technology brings to the way we communicate, travel, and live. They use YouTube to learn about everything from Physics to Photoshop, from baking to barometers.
Young people have a remarkable ability to make do with what they have. You’re a budding filmmaker and don’t have access to expensive camera equipment? No problem, you just shoot a killer movie on your phone. You’re a graphic designer with no access to software like Photoshop or Illustrator? No problem, you just use something like PowerPoint to create amazing graphics.
This generation brings to the table strong points that are incredible. Their shortcoming, to be sure, are alarming. The good news is that older people, from GenerationX and Y and the Baby Boomers are perfectly equipped to fill in the gaps. What they’ve learned from life and their experiences is precisely what the next generation needs.
When the environment is right, when the opportunity is ripe for filling in the gaps, some pretty amazing things will happen, I promise.