Artificial Maturity

Helping kids meet the challenge of becoming authentic adults

Homelanders: The Next Generation

What can we expect from the Homelanders, the new generation of kids born after the Millennial Generation or Generation Y? Read More

Generation after the Millennials

Mr Elmore, thank you for bringing attention to this vital yet still underappreciated generation. At After the Millennials we build on 10 years of research to exclusively focus on the post-millennial generation and make informed forecasts about their futures. There are of course large international variations. The U.S. Homelanders are the first cohort since the late wave of Gen-Xers to have dipped under replacement fertility level, which makes their relative cohort size dependent on immigration. This is important for their future political identity as they might not have the critical mass to be heard, which can lead to the defeatism we've seen in Generation X. They are more likely to set realistic expectations and are less likely to "dream big", having seen the "The American Dream" fizzle out with the last recession. In surveys they are more likely to report realistic career aspirations such as computer scientist, doctor or teacher (Goodbye, popstar and celebrity athlete!), but they are less likely to see college or higher education being affordable options for them. Expect to see a rise in alternative and affordable educational options and training for this generation. Examples are apprenticeship-driven hacker spaces, "social MOOCs" and youth-led maker movements. These kids are likely to amass knowledge and skills from other places than traditional institutions and in gamified settings like Sim City and Minecraft. Furthermore, given the rate of technological and infrastructural change, we are currently educating them for jobs than don't yet exist. The best way to lead them will be to facilitate their learning and curiosity and get out of their way.

As parents, educators, employers and society we must try to overcome our urge to over-protect, micro-manage and expect them to achieve the formal merits of the past and instead let them focus on building the knowledge base and (re)learning skills our future needs. Instead of raising (funding) compliant test-takers and rule followers we should focus on raising them to become resilient, creative and independent. They must be encouraged to take chances, to create, to fail. And when they do fail, we must comfort and help them back up again. We won't give them trophies just for showing up, but for trying, for losing, for learning from the loss, and for trying again.

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Tim Elmore is the founder and president of Growing Leaders, an international non-profit organization created to develop emerging leaders.

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