Our Social Responsibility to the Next Generation

I recently attended a workshop put on by AgriGrowth in St. Cloud that was focused on innovative options for attracting potential employees. The concept that today, there are 4-5 generations working alongside each other in the same workplace was talked about at length. I think all of us have heard the terms “Baby Boomers”, “Generation X” and “Millennials” to name a few.  I found it interesting to generalize the changes in each generation versus each other.  To look at the events, technologies, behavioral traits, etc of each group that helped shaped each generation’s values and beliefs, and see how much they all are different from each other.

One of the theories that I found most interesting was how each generation tends to complain about how the generations after them had things easier, don’t have to work as hard, don’t have a good work ethic, and so on. The thing we need to understand is that it is the responsibility of each generation to shape the next. In essence, if prior generations don’t like how future generations behave, then they have failed in showing them the right way or failed in instilling the same values and beliefs as they had. Now I want to be clear, this is definitely stereotyping each group and not everyone in each generation behaves the same way or has the same beliefs. But I know I am guilty of thinking or saying the younger people today either don’t seem to have the same work ethic or drive as people have had in the past, and I am sure many of you have as well. What I have failed to realize is that it might be my fault or my generations fault and not theirs.

Another example of this theory is Frank Martin, the Head College Basketball Coach at South Carolina University.  He is a very demanding and intense coach.  His team enjoyed a successful, and unexpected, run to the Final Four this past March and he was quoted as saying this along the way:

“You know what makes me sick to my stomach? When I hear grown people say that kids have changed. Kids haven’t changed. Kids don’t know anything about anything. We’ve changed as adults. We demand less of kids. We expect less of kids. We make their lives easier instead of preparing them for what life is truly about. We’re the ones that have changed. To blame kids is a cop-out.”

I don’t know exactly what shapes the values and beliefs of each generation of people in this country.  I do know that I have a pretty major role in helping to shape this within my own household and this is something I will not take for granted.  My children are hopefully going to know what it is like to work a little for things they have and also hopefully they will be able to take pride and see what they can accomplish in a good days work.  If they can do this before they move out of our house, I will feel like I have done my part and I encourage each of you to do the same.