The generation born near the end of the year 2000, previously known as "Gen Z", has formally announced itself with a new name change -"The Founder Generation". A nationwide study recently conducted by MTV, the cable music network, surveyed more than 1000 thirteen and fourteen year olds giving them the opportunity to more clearly define themselves. They were asked what they would like their generation to be called, and the group responded boldly with a surprisingly clear sense of identity. Aside from new naming rights, the study revealed insights into their generational ways of thinking that provide a small window into our potential new order. Our youngest teens apparently feel they're following on the heels of a disruptive Millennial generation, putting them in line to be the ones responsible for building a "better world."
That's what the rest of us could call a heavy lift.
These teenagers are the post 9/11 generation that was uniquely born into a world where terrorism has been a constant and real domestic threat. Where families have lived and raised them amidst the worst financial crisis since the Depression. And where technology is a significant and faster driver of life than ever before.
That's what could be called a triple challenge.
We've left it to MTV to shine light on common threads in young people's thinking. 90% of those surveyed said they are "going to start a new society where diversity is accepted and encouraged". 91% said they're "optimistic our generation can build a better world" and they've expressed a "pragmatic" approach to making their way through that world.
Optimism and pragmatism coming from the minds of today's youngest teens could be one of the greatest gifts they bring to a society badly in need. Add to that a real acceptance of diversity, because they themselves are the most diverse generation in history. Imagine if world leaders, politicians and business people would actually hear those words and begin to put them into effect as they work toward tomorrow. That's a momentary optimistic thought that refreshes the mind and spirit.
While there are ruminations and some attempts beginning, broad based positive social activism has not been a cause taken up by the Millennial generation. A hands on approach for effectuating real societal change will, in all likelihood, be left up to both the Millennial and Founder generations. Working together and building on the strengths of their foundations and numbers could well set the stage for the emergence of a different kind of "New World". As long as they don't get pulled into old traps. Perhaps it's time for the adults to take notice and begin tuning in.