Gen-Y is the most important generation. Gen-Y will change the world. Gen-Y will solve our problems.
Gen-Y supporters are everywhere, and next, it will be all about Gen-X. Despite the fact I fit into this category, there are times when I feel the attention we receive is simply unnecessary.
President Obama recently encouraged his fellow leaders at the UN General Assembly to invest in young people today for a better tomorrow when stating:
I have met young people on every continent, and they can lead the way if we give them the tools they need.
He's right; young people will grow up, and they will be the next generation with the power to make a difference. Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers can enhance their ability to do it well by handing them the right tools and setting a precedent.
However, that mentality isn’t new, especially in the voice of other US presidents. Thomas Jefferson shared his view on the importance of the younger generation in 1813 by stating:
We may consider each generation as a distinct nation, with a right, by the will of its majority, to bind themselves, but none to bind the succeeding generation, more than the inhabitants of another country.
Jefferson’s address highlighted the importance of each generation working together, and he encouraged them to act in a manner that would help their subsequent generation.
In a speech to the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce in 1961, Ronald Reagan expressed:
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.
Reagan identified the importance of setting an example to the younger generation and passing on what has been created.
In three different speeches made in three different eras, the message of empowering youth and setting a reputable precedence seems to be a commonality.
So, is Obama, right? Yes, absolutely. Was it a shocking statement? No.
If the media was as advanced back in those times as it is now, there may be a lot more evidence the mentality of empowering youth has been consistent over the years.
Despite the lack of evidence, we might argue it is an innate characteristic of humans.
It is common sense to give the following generation everything we can, in order to ensure their success in making positive change. It’s a well-known fact humans are influenced by the people and events that occur around them as they age.
Although it might be more evident in a parent-child relationship, young people are affected by the behavior and actions of older people in general.
And as much as we sometimes don’t want to admit it, our decisions and actions as Gen-Yers are influenced by what they teach us.
If leaders around the world were truly to invest in their young, educate them, provide them with right skills and opportunities to make an impact, then there is no doubt they would be able to.
If we look back at how our planet has evolved over time, it truly exemplifies how each generation has made a positive impact.
Sure, they all had some mishaps, but we’ve also accomplished a lot. Advancements in technology, science and business were all made because of the generation in power and the impact the previous generation had on them.
The younger generation carries the future power to make change happen. The Gen-Xers once had that power, the Baby Boomers once had that power, and now Gen-Y does.
Gen-Y is the most important generation right now, but every other generation has had that title. Gen-Y will change the world, but every other generation has, too.
Gen-Y will solve our problems, but only with the lead of older generations.