Instagram. Instant Coffee. Instant Messaging. Instant Relief. Instant Satisfaction. Instant Results.
Instantaneous is a thing we advertise. We like. We idolize. We manufacture. We even consume.
I found it interesting when Starbucks went instant with VIA Coffee. It was a struggle for this profoundly successful coffee company to cater to a culture that challenged some of their core values. We’ve created a cultural demand for instant and convenient but also authentic and high quality. An oxymoron some would say.
Instant happens fast, but I’m often surprised by how short the fulfillment is. Things that happen in an instant often provide little satisfaction. These things don’t cost us much. It doesn’t require a lot of time, energy, or commitment. They often don’t produce long-lasting results. It’s a quick-to-prepare, quick-fix kind of system that we live by; an unconscious value that shapes us more than we may realize.
I find generational trends fascinating. I love following culture and behaviors through the generations from Traditionalists, to Baby Boomer’s, to Gen X’ers, to Gen Y’ers , and now moving into the Post Millennials. Understanding characteristics and qualities that define and shape past and future generations is something that intrigues me. Perhaps it’s because I am curious as well unsure of our generational values and where they come from.
I am a Gen Y’er. And I like to ask why a lot. I’m a bit like a toddler. Just trying to understand the world and how it works. So I find myself pointing and asking why to most things that I see.
Why are there children that die because of such extreme conditions of starvation and malnourishment? Why are young girls being exploited and victimized because of the demands of a sexualized world? Why are parents abandoning children they are not able to care for because of extreme poverty? Why do so many women and children have no knowledge of how to read or write, because they have no access to education? Why are children being forcibly recruited and threatened into hostilities that are beyond comprehension? Why are there people who are deprived of their basic human rights and status as a human being that has value, worth, and dignity?
Why are things the way they are? Why are my worst nightmares a real reality in our world?
Why Why Why?? Why Gen Y?
Why do we value the things we do? Why do we choose to spend our lives the way we do?
Gen Y’ers often get a bad rap in the media spotlight. Some call us Gen Y’ers the most parented generation in history. There are a lot of us. We’ve acquired the name “echo boomers” because of our size. We have labels on us including “technology-addicted, lazy, lonely, self-entitled, egotistical, overconfident, unreliable, uncommitted, and high maintenance.” One of our key markers is our “desire for instant gratification.” Something I believe trips us up.
The day I discovered this was our reputation in the media and forecast as a generation, it broke me. It aggravated my insides. I felt angry, frustrated, overwhelmed, and helpless for some time. But those feelings didn’t last long. I realized there was something I could do about this. That I didn’t have to accept things the way they are. Change can happen. And it’s something I believe in. It’s something I am committed to. I hope this gets to you too, and I hope you do something about it.
I have 2 deeply interconnected passions. A passion to see a generation of young people discover what it means to live life in the full, giving their lives away on behalf of others. And a passion to see justice brought to the places of injustice, so all people can experience life in the full. I love World Vision Youth because it is a place where these dots connect. I believe there is good in the world. And I believe we can be the good.
Change doesn’t happen VIA Instant.
I challenge Gen Y to commit to change anyway.
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” ~Rumi
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