Being happy is the most important sign of success

July 22nd, 2013

Are we setting policy and developing programming with a clear understanding of what this next generation needs to raise their families and be productive members of our workforce? You be the judge-

I hope you are making the most of the warm summer breezes. Our office is in high gear program planning for the coming year and in to the future.

We take advantage of the summer months to walk along the lakefront with colleagues, to talk and reflect on the state of education, the workforce, young children, families and the times in which we live. It’s great to let our minds wander, explore and think.

The one question we strive to answer, how well are we really meeting the needs of children and families, and what could we be doing differently to make a difference for young children? Okay, that’s two questions. And here are two more, what do we really know about the Millennials (those born after 1980/18-29 year olds), and are we setting policy and developing programming with a clear understanding of what this next generation needs to raise their families and be productive members of our workforce? You be the judge-

This is a generation that has grown up on technology. Millennials:

-accessorizes with tech gadgets,

-are easily distracted,

-excellent multi-taskers,

-build relationships through sound bites in 140 characters or less,

-expect responses in real time,

-post their thoughts about everything and expect people to ‘like’ it,

-document and create a permanent life record for all the world to see, online,

-open and transparent,

-most likely to sleep with their cell phones,

-believe anyone is capable of stardom and fame (because of Utube and viral posts)

This is a generation that has grown up during one of the worst economic recessions in our nation’s history. Millennials have been watching the older generations and say, “Grown-ups just aren’t happy. Everything is work, work, work. Long hours, no fun, too much responsibility. Grown-ups go to work and do jobs they don’t like to make money…..and then their lives are over. Not me!” Millennials expect a different quality of life and it is not all about money. For Millennials, being happy is one of the most important signs of success. This doesn’t mean they are lazy as some have characterized, in fact, Millennials value and believe:

-In higher education,

-In achievement,

-In teamwork rather than competing with one another,

-In fairness and opportunities for all,

-In gay marriage and immigration reform as ‘normal’, not something that requires debate or acceptance,

-In government to solve our problems,

-In voting,

-In long term no risk career paths,

-In loyalty, once they find a job that makes them happy, Millennials want to stick with it.

This is a generation that believes being a good parent matters more than having a good marriage. According to Pew Research Study, 2011, Millennials and older generations view marriage and family structure differently:

-Most Millennials are slow to marry and have children although they eventually want both,

-Millennials believe the institution of marriage is becoming obsolete,

-Millennials believe you do not necessarily need both a mother & father to grow up happily.

Even though we all agree being a good parent matters, we do not want to be short-sighted on what that means. Technology set a new course for society and how we operate, and so will the Millennials.

Every industry leader needs an understanding of the attitudes, behaviors and aspirations of Millennials if we are to set policy which readies our schools and nation for this next generation of leaders and their children.

What do you suppose will be the trickle-down effect on our education system as Millennials become parents? As a Millennial, if we could create the ideal education system for the information age, what would the learning experience look like?

We say what you are thinking and would love to hear your thoughts!

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