Some Good News About Today’s Youth
Some people call them Generation Y and others call them Generation Me. I’m referring to the people who are populating our middle and high schools right now. They are the last of their generation, which began around 1984 and ended with those born in 2004.
Much ink has been given to their predicted contributions to society. Author Jean Twenge wrote Generation Me, and, considers them to have the traits of confidence and tolerance, but also identifies a sense of entitlement and narcissism based on personality surveys that showed increasing narcissism among Millennials compared to preceding generations. This lack of caring seen in today’s teens has many wringing their hands and shaking their heads in despair.
Today’s youth are no different than those who have come in the past. They are just dealing with more stuff at a faster rate than any other generation has had to. Technology has brought the world to the door steps in all its goodness and badness. But even with that, their are still amazing students out there who do amazing things every day.
So, this week, Bill Bowman gave me his space so I can bring you some good news about the Me Generation.
Myself and Jerred Sanders, the operations officer of Up & Coming Weekly, spent all of last week with about 45 members of the Me Generation. (Thanks Bill for your support!)
These students spent all of last week, in its grueling heat and humidity, working to help others. And, no, they were not in trouble and they were not forced to do it. They did it because it mattered. They did it because reaching out to people who need help was important. They did it because one small group of kids decided that it wasn’t about them.
And, that’s the good news. Today’s generation isn’t all about themselves. They look around them and they see a world in need. They see people hurting. They see people who need cared for and they want to help.
A lot of us do as well. But we never take that step. These young adults did. Instead of opting to take a trip to a camp or the beach, they asked where can we help, who can we help and who will help us?
The students with the spark came from Green Springs Baptist Church’s Undone Student Ministry. They invited their friends from Cape Fear Baptist and Mount Pisgah to join in. And, then, they spent five days working. They cleaned yards and raked pine straw. They hauled away years of trash and debris. They went in places that most adults wouldn’t step foot in to lend a hand to those in need. The princesses with perfect hair and makeup were so much more beautiful with sweat running day their faces, hair bunched in a ponytail and dirty hands reaching out in love to their fellow man.
They helped to feed the hungry by giving a day at the Second Harvest Food Bank, doing more in one day than food bank officials say most groups do in three. They went to the Red Springs Mission Camp and again, worked themsleves out of a job completing eight projects, when camp officials thought they would only finish half of them. They went to the Baptist Children’s Home in Pembroke and brought such love and kindness to the children there, that leaders at the home drove back to Cumberland County to let their children spend the evening with the students.
You can tell me today’s youth are going to hell in a handbasket. And I can tell you they are not. For I have seen their hearts and I have seen their faith — and I’ve seen them put both on the line to help those in need. Have you done the same?