I remember hearing a lot of moaning about how bad I was as a kid, overly energetic and often up to mischief. It was not far from the truth, but my Dad always defended me. “Don’t worry, people always complain about today’s youths, it was like that even in Ancient Greece,” he said, calling me by my nickname, which was Tico.
He was right, of course. Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato were masters at teaching the young. They felt nothing could be nobler than getting youngsters to grapple with life’s big questions. That meant challenging tradition and authority. Now, I was no philosopher back then and probably challenged the wrong things, but my Dad’s advice stuck.
These days I still hear adults complaining about young people – they spend too much time on their smart phones or computers, don’t get outdoors enough, read fewer books than previous generations, and neither respect tradition nor behave in a respectful manner.
I think that’s all rubbish. Today’s youths are great! Much smarter, more polite, and better informed and well rounded than we ever were. Anyone who claims the opposite has either a selective or overly nostalgic memory of the past. We simply did not have what the Millennials have. Just stop for a second and think about it.
Getting information used tobe difficult and time-consuming, now everything is available online. The projects that kids do in school are nothing short of impressive. Most Millennials speak more languages than we do. When they leave home they will have seen more of the world, either through physical travel or virtual observation, than we ever did.
Technology has already transformed the way in which we interact with one another. Games such as Wordfeud connect grandparents and grandchildren across continents. Social media from Snapchat to Instagram allow users to share everyday life with friends and family. A plethora of visual communication apps from Facetime to Skype offer great ways to stay in touch.
Most importantly today’s youths are much more tolerant than we were. They respect difference, whether it is racial, sexual, or cultural. Their world is simply much more diverse than ours was, which is also reflected in the manner in which they behave toward their elders.
Every generation is smarter than the previous one. It’s what makes the world tick. Some call it evolution, I call it life. That’s how it is supposed to be. Nothing beats the feeling of your own children outsmarting you. For me, it happens daily, and I’m proud of it.