I heard a speech the other day about the differences in the generations. I happen to be a Baby Boomer. I knew there were some distinct differences in the generations, but I found some of the data rather fascinating.
The new term for youth is the Millennial Generation. Here are some of the characteristics of this generation:
- They are very technology driven
- They are more liberal and inclusive of ideas, lifestyles, and habits that we find strange and even dangerous
- They think they are smarter than you are
- They have a sense of entitlement
- They get much of their identity from clothes
Now, I thought back to when I was a kid. We did not have all of the technology that is available today, but I can identify with the last three bullet points.
There has always been and will always be a disconnect between the generations. My dad could not understand why we liked to listen to Rock and Roll music. I don’t understand the attraction that kids have to some of the music they listen too. I have to admit that I am shocked at how much profanity is laced throughout the music of today. And let’s face it, Rap makes me want to hit something or someone. Seriously, why is there so much anger in the music?
How can the Boomers and Generation Xers communicate with the younger generation? Think about it. The Millennials are our future workers and leaders. It we can’t communicate with them, we are in for a real shock. Here are some tips for reaching those in the Millennial generation that you work with or live with:
- Show respect for their opinions. Regardless of how bizarre their ideas may seem to you, they still deserve to be heard. Who knows? What they think might just have some validity.
- Spend time getting to know them and discussing what concerns them. The more you empathize, the more you will both realize.
- Model proper behavior for them. Can you expect them to know how to treat other people respectfully if you don’t do it yourself?
- Acknowledge their strengths and include them in projects and ideas that have to do with technology or social media. That is where they live and thrive.
- Teach them how to communicate with older generations. Many of the Millennials are raised in fatherless homes. Cut them some slack. Love them. Be patient with them.
I have great hope for the youth of today. They are bright, enthusiastic, fun-loving people. We just have to get to know each other. That will take intentionality, humility, and love on both sides. I toast the younger generation. “May God give you vision, peace, prosperity, and love.”