The Oregon Trail Generation

It’s official; I feel old.

I find myself saying and thinking things like “these kids…” and “what’s the purpose of Snapchat?” Seriously.

One part of my job is overseeing our summer interns. I love it, and this is my third year doing it. As the summer winds down and the interns head home, I always find myself thinking deep thoughts about work and the future and, this summer, generational differences. This was really the first summer where I felt a distinct generational divide between me and them. I’ll say it again: I feel old. 

A major attribute of my generation is that we have lived in a world both with and without the modern technologies that younger people will never lack. Truthfully, I’m SO thankful for that.

Nature Valley Canada recently released this video (below) that has quickly made its way across social media. I’m not much of an outdoorsman, but how sad is it that a lot of these kids never play outside, or even have much face-to-face contact with other kids outside of school?

This video and my deep thoughts got me thinking about a few things.

(1) Miles WILL play outside.

So far, my preschooler hasn’t shown much prowess in the athletics department, and that’s totally okay. But one thing we’re pretty vigilant about is limiting screen time and encouraging what should be typical of a boy his age – namely, a whole lot of running, jumping, and climbing on things. I think it’s unrealistic to forbid screen time all together, and something like that may actually end up putting him at a disadvantage down the road with the way technology is evolving. However, as the TVs and computers and tablets become increasingly available, it’s just as important to make time away from them a priority.

(2) It’s okay to learn from the youths (you know, the opposite of elders…)

I wholeheartedly believe in respecting and learning from those who are older, but taking into consideration how quickly things are changing (think mix tapes recorded off the radio to any playlist a couple of clicks later on Spotify, Apple Music, or the like), it’s becoming just as important for the older generations to be willing to learn from young people. That does sometimes require pushing pride aside, but as technology advances as this crazy rate, it’s becoming necessary.

(3) I will appreciate where I came from.

It’s so crazy to think that literally every milestone in Miles’ life has been documented digitally – from his birth, to his first steps, right up to what he ate for dinner last week. I didn’t even consider creating any kind of online presence until after college! As if growing up and those awkward teen years aren’t hard enough, a bad picture that could once be ripped up and never seen again could now be shared with literally the world in a matter minutes. No, thank you. It’s a whole new set of rules and problems, new things to take into consideration as we raise our kids. For example, you do NOT need to constantly be told how wonderful you are, and how many people “like” something you say or do isn’t really an indicator of its significance.

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