Already, I meet parents and teachers who ask the question: What can we expect from the Homelanders, the new generation of kids born after the Millennial Generation or Generation Y?
According to most social scientists, Generation Y births ended between 2000 and 2002. This means that kids in elementary school now are from a new generation. Two leading generational experts, Howe and Strauss, have already coined the term: Homelanders. They are earth’s newest generation. This name seems to fit since their first year (2003) was about the same time America gave birth to the Department of Homeland Security.
They were born into a different world than previous generations, and are the first generation born in the 21st century. Because their early world is marked by terrorism, a troubled economy and a savvy, almost jaded social climate, they may not embrace the optimism of the early Millennials. In fact, below is my first attempt at contrasting the Homelanders with Generation Y. It is still early, but these are the marks we see in them, as we work with primary-aged kids and observe how parents, culture, and schools have shaped them.
GENERATION Y (1984-2002)
- Green friendly, but self-indulged
- Secure; high self-esteem
- Easy come, easy go
- Poor at finances
- Dependant upon parents/adults
- Optimistic and progressive
- I want it all
- Cautious and safety preoccupied
- Green-biased; focus on conservation
- Insecure; seeking identity
- Frugal stewards of resources
- Realistic and pragmatic
- I seek balance; trade-offs
- Globally savvy and aware
Our work with these young students may require us to develop a new set of skills and a new level of emotional intelligence. They may need to hear different words of encouragement. They may need to be pushed to take risks and believe in the future more than their earlier counterparts did. While the world is still at their fingertips and communication with others globally is immediately available, this new batch of kids will approach life a bit more cautiously and safely. They’ll be forced to be more calculated and pragmatic in their planning. They may be compelled to grow up faster than the “postponed” Millennials before them. With this in mind, observe these young children and see what you conclude about the habits forming in their lives. Let’s lead them well.