Generation Y are the children of the late Baby Boomers and the early Gen-Xers - born between 1984 and 2002. While experts differ on what to call them, all agree they are bound to change the way we approach life. Even if you have no interest at all, or no connection at all with this next generation of kids - you will be affected by how they turn out.
We could call them Generation iY, because of the impact of the internet on their lives. They have literally grown up online. Theirs is the world of the iPod, iBook, iChat, iMovie, iPad and iTunes. And for many of them life is pretty much about "I."
Nearly half of the world's population is under the age of 25, which represents about 3 billion people. Gen iY is the most eclectic and diverse in history. They are also the first generation that doesn't need leaders to get information; they have electronic access to every pience of data you can imagine.
All of this will either turn out to be good news or bad news as they migrate into adulthood. Tim Elmore's research reveals that this generation is (1) overwhelmed, (2) over-connected, (3) over-protected, and (4) over-served. That's not the whole picture of course. They can be very energetic, confident and capable. But it's time for those of us who care about these kids - parents, teachers, coaches, youth workers and employers - to pay attention to the way we are shaping them.
Elmore goes on to describe the paradox of Gen iYs as being:
1. Sheltered ... yet pressured.
2. Self-absorbed ... yet generous.
3. Social ... yet isolated by technology.
4. Ambitious ... yet anxious.
5. Adventuresome ... yet protected.
6. Diverse ... yet harmonious.
7. Visionary ... yet vacillating.
8. High achievement ... yet high maintenance.
The prophet Joel said that in the last days, God would pour out his Spirit on young and old together. It is not young vs old, or old vs young, but young and older working together for kingdom purpose. If we could only harness the enthusiasm of the young with the wisdom of the aged, what a powerful impact we could have on our world. Fight the generation gap. Be a bridge-builder today. Reach out and connect with a young person today. Listen to them. Challenge them. Show them that you love and care for them. What a different that can make!
For more information about Generation iY, check out Tim's book or his web site.