As millennial parents, we know that our kids will face unique challenges. Our kids, born 2010-2025, have been termed Generation Alpha, and they will be the first generation born entirely in the 21st century.
This gets me thinking: What kind of world will they live in? What challenges will they face? How can we best prepare them?
The world is the most global and interconnected that it’s ever been. The United States, founded as a nation of settlers and immigrants, is the most diverse ethnically and culturally that it’s ever been.
However, as millennials we have inherited a society that in many ways has forgotten its identity and lost its way. Many of us are disillusioned with the religious and political establishments.
If you pinned us down on it, we’d have to admit that deep down we have big questions about the fundamentals of life. Why are we here? Is there a higher power on our side or are we all alone? How do we make decisions, what beliefs make up our compass?
Sometimes we pull ourselves together and we think we’ve got some answers, other times not so much. But what do we believe strongly enough to teach it to our kids?
What do we want them to know about life? What are the values that we want to pass on? What are the things that we know that we know? How do we pass on the humility that is honest about our struggles with some of these questions, while still preserving the message of hope?
I want my kids to value love over fear, peace over division, hope over despair, and freedom over security.
I want them to be creative and curious, hopeful and free. I want them to go into the world with open eyes and open hearts, knowing they will encounter darkness at times, but also certain of their ability to carry the light.
Let’s explore how to raise our kids to be joyful, courageous and resilient, to live lives of creativity and freedom, of love, joy and compassion.
Let’s talk about science, history, and technology, but also politics, economics, religion and philosophy.
Because our kids can take it. They are ready to go there. Our kids are brave and kind, they are earnest and smart, and they were born for this. We must not white wash our history, dumb down our curriculum, or insulate them from the important issues and events of our day.
Instead we must gently inform, educate and equip them for the tasks set before their generation. Just like their parents, I believe our kids crave authenticity, honesty and challenge. They want to know what’s real, and they want to know how to engage their lives with intelligence and passion.
This path is not for the faint of heart, for it will require that we go into our own hearts and face our own demons. To teach our kids the real stuff of life, we’ve got to stop hiding from it ourselves. But it’s not quite as daunting as it sounds once we get into it, because this is also our path. We were also born for this.
We are brave, we are strong, we are resilient. We are here to do all sorts of awesome things, and one of those is to equip our children and set them on their own paths.