“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” Those words from Psalms 127:3 speak perfectly on how we should view our children. Generation Z, individuals born between 1997 and 2012, are a unique generation because they are among the first to have technology at their fingertips. I can remember my own Gen Zer who used the desktop computer and laptop to reinforce her learning of colors, numbers, and basic sight words. By the time her brother was born four years later, he was using my smartphone to text my niece, who was amazed at the fact he knew how to text. “I bin no how to text,” is what his message read.
Fast forward twelve years, my Gen Zers are looking at Generation Alpha with amazement because they know how to utilize tablets. Technology is everywhere we look; we cannot escape from it. Schools have gone to one-to-one technology, and students must access different platforms to complete their assignments. How can we keep our children’s minds pure and help them not yield to temptations? How can we help our children keep their faith and maintain a close relationship with God? The answer is simple; it begins with us.
Half of Generation Z are in their early stages of adulthood and late teenage years. They are living in a time when suicides and deaths by firearms are increasing among their peers. Some are feeling they have lost their connection with God and do not know what to do. How can they regain their connection with God and find their way back to peace? The answer is simple; it begins and ends with us - the adults in their lives.
We have a duty to our youth to guide them throughout their lives by giving them unconditional, non-judgmental love. We have a duty to spend time with our young people and listen to what they have to say about life and the world around them. Each time our children want to share a concern, an idea, or offer a solution to a problem, they deserve to be validated and encouraged for taking responsibility for their lives and their world.
Our duty to our young people includes accepting who they are and making a way for them to integrate themselves into this world that belongs to them, too. Yes, they are making choices that are diverse from what we might want them to choose. Are they any different they we were at their age? They want to forge a world they feel is more accepting and inclusive of all people. Are they any different they Jesus?
When we invite their ideas and incorporate them into what our established traditions, we are saying to them, “I see you; I hear you; and yes, you belong to us because you first belonged to God.” Embracing our young people sends them the message says, “You are being embraced by God.” Our young people are seeking God in the adults in their live; they need that connection to maintain their hope and faith in a life that is filled with peace, happiness, and love.
We are the answer Generation Z is seeking. We must open ourselves to them the same way Jesus has opened himself to us. Sure, the Bible says each generation gets weaker wiser, but it didn’t say it has to be that way. Each generation can grow wiser and stronger if the generations before them lead and guide them into a strength that can only be found in having a relationship with God. We can help our young people develop their relationship with God by allowing them to develop healthy relationships with us. After all, Generation Alpha is coming right behind them, so we equip Generation Z to guide the Alphas to a connection with God.
Namaste & God Bless!