August 30, 2012

No matter our political leanings or how difficult it has become to engage with either side in this terribly negative battle, there is one truth being told and Obama reiterated it yesterday in Ames. The Republicans are dead wrong on this.  The kids in high school and college today are not “A Lost Generation”.  They are the future-the key to making the 21st century the second “American Century”.

We boomers had our chances; in a very different playing field, we proved we could measure up to the “Greatest Generation” and make a difference…we thought we were right and knew best.  And in fact, for the times, we did—for the most part.  But we certainly also created some messes along the way.  And we did not learn how to conquer the really tough times because we did not have to face a great depression or a world war.…but now that it’s tough, we are the ones that are lost and can’t find our way forward into the world of today.

We may not always relate to these kids; we may have chosen not to transition fully to a new digital, collaborative, and global world; and, driven by the press and a very vocal political discourse, we may continue to make judgments based on mid-twentieth century guidelines and platitudes. But we are wrong.

The world has moved on in the last twenty years at a pace that is almost inconceivable. That Lost Generation of Romney’s is growing up in the new world; they are ready and willing to step up to the plate.  They think differently than we do; they approach life and the world differently than we do.

Take a minute.  LISTEN to them; HEAR what they are saying.  Yes, they communicate differently – with different words and different tools…but if you listen carefully, you will recognize the thoughts and dreams of our own youth.

The biggest difference?  Unlike most of us who thought we knew best, and unlike the GenXers who expected the best without expending the effort and THINK they are the best, these kids are hungry for input.  They want to hear what worked for us and why; what did not work for us and why not.  They absorb the input like sponges and out of that grows a unique new perspective. It’s time we begin the move to the sidelines, and if we are smart, we will make ourselves available to council and coach when asked, but not to harshly judge.  They will make good use of the input.  They will surprise us as they take on the significant flaws we created in our world– flaws they are willing to fix.



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