12 Things You Need to Know About the Emerging Generation

Recently as I was reading Cultivate: Forming the Emerging Generation Through Life-on-life Mentoring (For Educators) the authors took time to remind this reader that most literature dealing with present generations divide these generations into four groups:  Traditionalist, Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, and Millennials.  (Click here to see a review of Cultivate that was posted here on the FOCUS blog.  If you have not yet read this book, you need to do so ASAP!)

The Emerging Gen.

While some differ, consensus is that groups can be best viewed by when they were born:

Traditionalists – born before 1945; some call them the “greatest” generation recognizing that they survived the Great Depression.  Traditionalists are usually very patriotic, conservative, enjoy a great work ethic, and are willing to share their strong opinions.

Baby Boomers – born 1946 – 1964; born into social and racial unrest as well as explosive technological advancement, the baby boomers were idealists that became self-centered and materialistic.

Gen Xers – born 1965 – 1979; born into political and corporate corruption and an AIDS explosion, these Xers are often distrustful and cynical yet very self-reliant and entrepreneurial.

Millennials – born 1980 – 2001; born into unparalleled prosperity and innovation, the millennials are viewed as impatient and feeling entitled.

And then comes the . . . .

Emerging Generation  – born since 2001

And what are the qualities of those born in the last 12-14 years?  Why must we know such?  Because this emerging generation is the one we have be called to serve.  The authors of Cultivate provide 12 characteristics of this emerging generation.  These qualities are important to know and understand for those called to teach the Emerging Generation.

The Emerging Generation . . . 

  1. Lives in complexity
  2. Is overly self-confident
  3. Wants to change the world
  4. Has a negative view of the church
  5. Wants what works
  6. Embraces moral relativism
  7. Multitasks
  8. Is slow to make decisions
  9. Is overwhelmingly stressed out
  10. Is extremely connected
  11. Is uninhibited
  12. Is lonely

As I read the list offered and explained by the authors, I realized that educators in 2014 are indeed educating an emerging generation.                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Several questions come to mind—

  • Have you taken time to learn the characteristics of the emerging generation?
  • Have you developed new strategies for dealing with this emerging generation? 
  • Have you committed yourself to teaching students from the emerging generation?

We must ask ourselves these questions every day.  We must continue to answer these questions in the affirmative every day.  Why?  Because every generation is called to teach an emerging generation.  Whether you are a millenial, Xer, baby boomer, … okay, even a traditionalist. To be an effective teacher, one must embrace the opportunity of reaching an emerging generation.

What are you doing to more effectively reach the emerging generation?  

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Edward is the founder and managing editor of Focus on Christian Education. He also serves as the Executive Director of the South Carolina Association of Christian Schools.