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19Mar, 2012

The Go-Nowhere Generation

Family_business_desk Todd and Victoria Buchholz recent wrote for the New York Times on The Go-Nowhere Generation.  In it, they suggest that Americans, especially younger generations have become risk-averse and sedentary. Culturally, we have become have become risk-averse and sedentary. With a challenging economy all around us, young Americans are less inclined to pack up and move to sunnier economic climes.

According to the Pew Research Center, the proportion of young adults living at home nearly doubled between 1980 and 2008, before the Great Recession hit. Today’s generation is literally going nowhere. This is the Occupy movement we should really be worried about.

We discussed last week about the need to assist the next generation to be able to make commitments, to overcome fear, to deal transparently, to initiate, to plan a course.

This is all a part of our American heritage. We are a nation of movers and shakers. Pilgrims leapt onto leaky boats to get here. The Lost Generation chased Hemingway and Gertrude Stein to Paris. The Greatest Generation signed up to ship out to fight Nazis in Germany or the Japanese imperial forces in the Pacific. The ’60s kids joined the Peace Corps.

But Generation Y has become Generation Why Bother. The Great Recession and the still weak economy make the trend toward risk aversion worse. As Church, we have a role to play here with this generation, let’s get moving and shaking!  <h/t to Ann for calling my attention to the article>



  1. and I wonder what will happen to the I-Gens?

    Comment by John Gencarelli — Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 1:22 pm

  2. Having work with teens for 20 years in youth ministry (and raised 4 of my own), I found both a ring of truth in this article, and much that I disagreed with. I don’t believe that Facebook (or social-networking) in general is the be-all/end-all to why students today are sticking close to home. I belive that there’s a real sense of security in being closer to home or in that which is familiar. We haven’t helpd out students to spread their wings and imagine greater opportunites, because we ourselves have become complacent and unsure of the future. Example: my husband retired from the military after 20 years of service and immediately went into the aerospace industry during it’s height in the 90’s, he ended up laid off in 2000’s, retrained, worked, laid off, worked, laid off…..you get the picture. That fear (financial, employment, etc.) drove him to sticking with the security of “a job” vs. “shooting for the sky” in available employment. During that time he cashed in his 401K to pay bills, which leads to more insecurity. Our children see this and know what it means…and it scares them.

    I think all our students have seen and been part of this cycle, which has added to their desire to stick close, help out, find what brings security for today; instead of seeking the brass ring of generations before. I pray that this insecurity will ease and they will, once again, become “movers and shakers”. We have to find a way to help them feel secure in the future ahead.

    Comment by Terri Nelson — Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

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