As the 2020 graduation class spreads their wings and prepares to launch into their future, there is a certain hope that this generation will learn from the world around them. They have seen dynamic change in their first two decades of life.
Growing up, these young men and women who are about to embark on post-secondary or workforce lives, have been allowed to see so much of what the world has to offer. They were born in the shadow of the 9/11 world. Changes regarding race and politics, culture and money have swirled around this generation. And all of that information has been available to them. Not from sit-down chats with parents and grandparents re-telling their stories — but through a more 'world-wide' presenter, telling all the stories.
The people of this generation, more than any other, have been allowed to make their own choices, search for their own facts, follow their own beliefs, and connect with any part of it. The exposure to the world around this generation is unprecedented. And in their recent, formative years of schooling, that global education has continued to rise at unprecedented rates. Environmental issues, global economies, health issues, the Black Lives Matter movement and its comparative equals . . . all of these movements and topics have formed the foundation of these graduates . . . and the graduates who follow.
Parents may fear that their children will be lead astray by 'fake news,' click-bait, and waves of social upheaval based on emotional responses. It is easy to fear the unknown and try to find sanctity in the more familial — but in many cases, that is where systemic issues rise from. We should all continue to learn from our pasts — but the future is where the ability for change lies. For those in this next wave to enter adulthood who want it, the information is at their finger-tips to make informed choices for themselves based on a wide-reach of information.
It might be too hopeful to say this next generation will find a way to mute and remove racism, feed the hungry, house the homeless and educate the ignorant — but by taking an active role in the world that continues to open up around them, this group is a lot closer to doing just that than any other generation before it.