“Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” – Harry S. Truman
The next generation to step up and move this world forward will be the Millenials. Some would doubt our ability to do so. However, I believe this merely reflects the cynicism of a society that has seen the very foundations of their existence fall down around them. Meanwhile, we are told our generation has been sheltered and is unprepared for the realities of the new normal. On this point I would not only disagree, but would contend we are better equipped to handle the complexities and necessary sacrifices our future will require. While many might find this to be a mere presumption, I contend the evidence supports this claim.
Cooperation among the future leaders of this generation is enhanced by our mastery of the communication technology at our disposal. Never before in history has technology created a world as interconnected as the one in which we live. This is largely do in part to the focus on rapid communication among several avenues. Everything from our cellular phones to social networks (e.g. Facebook) is geared to constant contact with our fellow citizens. Having grown up with these scientific innovations for most of our lives, we have learned working together towards solutions to our problems is far easier than merely going it alone.
We are defined by acceptance. From our earliest years we have been taught the importance of acceptance. We strive to be a part of our communities and in turn invite others to join us in our journey through life. This focus on community instills the art of compromise deep within our sense of identity. We are able to discuss the areas of our disagreement in a civil manner and search for solutions which will be of the greatest benefit to the largest number. While not always able to come to a perfect consensus, achieving such an end is a central tenet to accomplishing our ideals.
We expect greatness and will settle for nothing less. There are those who believe our “undeserved” high self-esteem is one of our greatest weaknesses. This is a pessimistic assessment of our generation, and is simply not true. While one of the causes for the confidence in ourselves may have to do with the somewhat sheltered education many of us benefited from, it does not detract from its effectiveness. We can only accomplish what we believe to be possible. Our ability to refuse the defeatist mentality many of the naysayers propogatge will enable us to traverse the seemingly insurmountable obstacles sure to come.
Take our recently unemployed college graduates for instance. Saddled with loads of debt, they are struggling to find a job in an economy where they are forced to compete with professionals who have a breadth of industry experience gathered over a lifetime in their respective fields. Do they give up? No. Some return to school an increase there usefulness for the day they will be needed. Others get actively involved with charities and volunteer organization in an attempt to not only land a job some day, but to help those in need. This perseverance in the face of despair requires the kind of confidence characteristic of our generation.
While some will scoff at the idea that a “spoiled, sheltered” generation like ours has what it takes to change the world for the better, our actions will show otherwise. Many of our elders see this potential and express their encouragement when they ever they see us stand up and lead. It was their hard work that created the opportunities the last couple of generation have capitalized on and it will be up to us to ensure the future era will contain a similar hopefulness. Anything less would be too disappointing for our supposed inflated self-esteems to accept.