Someone told me recently that we are now done with the millennials. We now have to deal with the emerging new Generation Z, also known as iGeneration, Post-Millennials, the young people born in the mid 1990s and mid 2000s.
These are people who are practically born with the smartphones in their hands. They definitely are exposed to a different environment, and their sensibilities are pronouncedly different from those of the previous generations. For one, they have a short attention span, but they can be more knowledgeable with regard to the new technologies.
This is how Wikipedia describes them: “a significant aspect of this generation is the widespread usage of the Internet from a young age…thought of as being comfortable with technology, and interacting on social media websites for a significant portion of their socializing…”
We have to hone up our skills at intergenerational dealings, with the older generations leading the way without controlling the younger ones. We have to be more sensitive to this aspect of our life these days. With the growing diversity of developments around, we need to be truly skillful in handling the intricate and more felt requirements of intergenerational integration, learning the art of adjusting and adapting.
We cannot help but deepen our respective generational specializations of interest, in all their social and cultural varieties. I suppose this is how things go. We even have to foster the legitimate differences. But we need to learn how to form one organic whole, since in the end we all are one human family.
This can mean that we have to develop certain attitudes, skills and practices, like openness to all things, acquisition of more knowledge of things in general and of oneself, which means that we have to be observant and perceptive, and that we know how study, how to relate things and come out with conclusions, etc.
We also need to consult and discuss things with others, which presumes that we have an open and transparent personality, capable of entering into meaningful dialogue with others. Openness here does not mean we do not have our own opinions and beliefs. We can and should have, but still willing to listen to others.
We have to learn how to be friendly with everyone, including those with whom we might have sharp differences. We have to learn how to go beyond our personal preferences and beliefs so as to be able to engage with those who are different from us or are even in conflict with us.
With the Generation Z, we have to learn to understand them the way they are and help to motivate them. We have to learn their language and get to know their concerns, dreams, aspirations as well as their fears and insecurities. We have to know how to develop their potentials and to minimize their deficiencies insofar as their human and spiritual life is concerned.
One way to tap their energies is to engage them in startups by opening horizons for them in the area of business and enterprise, for example. We have to teach them how to relate themselves to the common good of society and ultimately to God.