As we sat and ate breakfast one morning in Vermont, Addie informed me that she is part of Generation Z. I had never heard of Generation Z. I don’t know exactly why we went from Generation X straight to Generation Z, leaving “Y” to wonder why. (Did you see how I did that?) I guess the Millennials were so busy polishing their Participant trophies that they didn’t notice their generation didn’t garner a letter.
I asked Addie to explain the nuts and bolts of Generation Z.
“We want to make the world a better place,” she explained.
Wow, I thought. I wish we would have thought about that during the 60s and 70s. Guess we were too busy trying to get the world back to normal following World War II and/or trying to win a winless war in southeast Asia to think about anything like women’s rights or civil rights. Sorry Martin Luther King and Gloria Steinem.
When I got back to Denver, I looked up Generation Z for myself. What I learned was that every one of my grandkids is a member of this generation. Ages range from 6 to 24. Our youngest grandchild is 7. I will admit that I don’t think Cole is thinking much about making the world a better place. He is too busy worrying about whether the number of his toys is greater or fewer than that of his sisters’. On the other hand, I think our older grands certainly are concerned about the world. I also think they probably blame its faults on Baby Boomers. Sigh.
To me, one of the most significant characteristics of Generation Z is that they are the first generation to have not spent a single day without the internet or portable technology (i.e. cell phones and tablets). The idea of calling up a research librarian is a concept they can only remotely understand. Perhaps even a the idea of a library is foreign to them. They are used to instant information.
Teenage pregnancies are lower for Zoomers. (Boomers and Zoomers. It sounds like a college fight song. I’m looking at you OU) They drink less alcohol but use more illegal drugs. They care more about school and finding jobs than did their Millennial counterparts. Perhaps the fact that letter grades became outdated because they were hurtful to little Millennials Ethan and Ashley contributed to Zoomers’ increased focus on grades. Zoomers might have noticed that their older Millennial brothers and sisters were living at home after college.
I guess every generation thinks theirs is the one that will change the world. Our children learn from their parents’ and grandparents’ mistakes. I just hope that they don’t think that we didn’t care about what was happening around us. Getting older kind of sucks, but I won’t complain about getting wiser. While the world created by Boomers certainly has its flaws, Generation Z will soon learn that changing an entire world made up of all manner of people and ideas is not as easy as we would like.
Still, good on them that they want to change the world. I just hope that they want to leave the good things in place.