Archive for October 18th, 2016

Somewhere between the late 1970s and the year 2000 a distinct generation was born, and they have come to be known as Millenials.

The fact that the ‘experts’ cannot define specific dates, is one indicator that, perhaps like Autism, there is a spectrum of ‘symptoms’ and ‘indicators’ for this group of individuals (a generation is usually viewed as being a fifteen to twenty year time span).

Whatever the case, I am surrounded by them.

My three children, co-workers and those who I work alongside in our church youth program all belong to this demographic.

Millennial have been, largely, raised by helicopter parents, and are known to be more confident about the future, than the past. They are highly educated, and underemployed. They are amazing team players, who value versatility and flexibility in their places of work.  They greatly desire wealth, but do not live for their jobs, and they are expected to make more job changes than any other generation. They are socially liberals. They desire to be the change in our world, but don’t expect them to go about it through traditional means, or institutions.

About a year or so ago I came to a realization about myself, I did not understand the minds or motivations of this generation, and my lack of understanding was making me feel old … really old!

Whenever I come to such a realization, God floods my life with whatever (whoever) is frustrating me, and he forces me to look and listen.

So, I obeyed his prompts, and started listening …

Listening to my Millennial kids.

Listening to my Millennial co-workers.

Listening to the Millennials who also work with youth at our church.

And here is what I have been learning:

  • listening is much harder than speaking! (and I think I have been speaking far too much … after all, we have ONE mouth and TWO ears … use them according to provision)
  • Millennials are hard workers … they are more willing to invest in a wide range of relationships, and more deeply (than Gen X’ers like me, who tend to categorize relationships).
  • Millennials still believe they can make a difference! I had started to realize that, whenever people would be introducing a way to help others, I would start my mental list of why it wouldn’t work. I need more of a do than a don’t approach to being change in my world.
  • Millennials have a more balanced view of work. They want to use their gifts and passions, but they don’t just want to use them in their workplaces. They see life goals as bigger than a job, they do not see their identity as closely tied to their professions. Hum … maybe growing up with stressed out parents is sending the pendulum swinging from the fast-paced world.
  • Millennials won’t just do things because that is the way it’s always been done. They want rational for what they do, what they believe. If oldies like myself can’t rationalize what we do, what we believe, in a meaningful way, we might lose the ears of  this important generation, in a time in history when change is in the air.
  • Millennials know how to work together. They have grown up with the (despised and contrived) group projects instigated by my and previous generations, who had no idea what healthy, beneficial, meaningful group work should be. They have, fortunately, taken the general concept of team working, and made it into something that works … not because it’s multiple people, but because it is a group of individuals who come together with a common purpose, rather than the purpose be to work together.

I love the idealism of my kids.

I adore my co-workers who teach me from their fresh approach, rather than the way it has always been done.

This weekend, as youth leaders met, we took time to pray for each other leader, individually. It was terribly uncomfortable, humbling and honouring, to be prayed for sincerely, by my fellow, Millennial, leaders.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young,
but set an example for the believers
in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”
1 Timothy 4:12

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