An oldie but a goodie of an article from The Huffington Post came across my facebook feed this morning. “Are We Raising a Generation of Helpless Kids?” is a short but very honest look at the results of “everyone’s a winner” culture. I find myself more and more being discouraged by the need for independence, resilience, and patience in this generation’s crop of children. However, with the discouraging traits of the Gen Y, Millenials, the iGen or whatever else you want to call them, come a great deal of gifts. Today’s children are open to figuring things out. They are quick to fight for justice (fairness) for their peers. They are not tuned out, but rather very aware of what is going on in the world around them.
So why do we panic? I did a quick search on HuffPo for the words “a generation of”. I retrieved no less than 37 articles including:
I could go on and on with links, just from this one mixed-genre media site, but I think you get the point. I think as a society we have a lot of work to do in making sure our children have balanced childhoods-with technology, with food, with exercise, with academics, with mistakes, and with praise. A lot of very hard work indeed for our parents, teachers, caregivers, families, leaders, and communities. So how do we approach this daunting task to prevent what these articles would suggest is a decline in just about everything having to do with this new generation?
I think we approach it in the same way we have successfully approached parenting and teaching for generations-time, patience, modeling, love, and peanut butter sandwiches (or maybe cashew butter on gluten free bread.) My favorite analogy in the main article was the phrase, “velvet bricks.” I can think of so many instances in my life where velvet bricks by teachers, parents, friends, mentors, and life itself taught me so much. It is time for us to become master masons with our velvet bricks. We approach the rapid pace of change in our current culture with a collective push against the clock. We embrace the new and honor the old. We give ourselves permission to fail as the adults.
We do not have to be raising “a generation of” anything-we just have to raise a generation…and we have to do it together.