This is Life, Based on a True Story  

Let's hear it for Gen Z

Every generation has its “thing.” What they’re known for and how it affects past and future generations.

Much has been said and written about how the Millennials are a lost generation. And the group coming up behind them, Generation Z or iGen are no better off.

These two groups are often referred to as being lazy and unmotivated and lacking direction.

People who are my age — the generation raising these two groups — are in a constant battle with ourselves of how do we fix this and is it really as bad as perceived?

The baby boomers and earlier generations tend to think so. Their rhetoric is often along the lines of “take away their phones and electronics and make them get jobs.”

Before I continue, I feel the need to state I’m not painting every single person of every generation with the same brush – it’s more of a generalization and there are many exceptions.

But I find that amidst all the complaining about the young up and comers, their good traits are often overlooked and overshadowed by their technology obsessiveness.

Traits such as open-mindedness, tolerance, acceptance and compassion, regardless of one’s ethnicity, sexual orientation or religion.

I think from what I’ve observed with these kids, that the change we’ve all spoken of for years, is going to happen with them.

As their demographic group starts entering the workforce and becoming players in the game of life, a shift in the way society thinks will be more prevalent.

As a parent raising a couple of iGen kids, I’m super impressed with how they and the Millennials have chosen to be the most accepting of all generations prior to them combined.

I was talking to a family member about this. While acceptance of everyone has been preached for decades, it was never truly embraced until the millennials and Gen Z kids took the stage.

I was raised in an environment where my siblings and I were taught to be kind to everyone and to always turn the other cheek in times of turmoil.

Yet, underlying that, was an unspoken “look the other way” mentality that if another person were to discriminate or be racially offensive to a person or culture, we wouldn’t say anything in defense of them.

Was it right?

Absolutely not.

But we also honestly didn’t think we were wrong. We just thought we were being polite by not saying anything at all. And being polite was more important than being confrontational.

That’s not to say my parents ever encouraged us to take a backseat if we seen someone being unfairly targeted. Quite the opposite in fact. My dad was a huge proponent of standing up for others, and the Golden Rule was enforced in our house.

But I was born in a time where it was also ok to just simply pretend you didn’t hear it, see it or notice it.

The difference between then and now is the kids nowadays will absolutely not stand for that and are very vocal in being outwardly accepting to all.

If someone is gay, they don’t care — that’s just who they are. Someone dresses differently — what’s the big deal. It’s that person’s choice.

So while I was talking to my family member about this, I was saying the credit should go to us because we’re the ones raising our kids to be like that. And then I was given another spin on it.

Yes, we have done an amazing job of teaching our children from a young age that it’s OK to be you and that differences among us should be celebrated.

We’re that generation that had to make the leap from being raised in households that perhaps weren’t as open-minded, to having to be the household that is.

While it doesn’t sound like a difficult thing to do, it can be exasperating to unravel many preconceived notions of multiple generations – not only in one’s family, but in a societal way as well.

Yet, somehow along the way, that’s exactly what happened. But can all the credit go to us, the parents?

The more likely culprit, or shall I say hero in this case, is social media. Social media has created a whole new form of social justice never known to generations past.

Anything that goes awry can and will be posted on social media for all to witness and judge. And this is making the younger generations more socially conscious and aware on a grander scale.

Because of the amount of screen time kids and young adults log, they are constantly subjected to other ways of thinking, seeing and understanding what may have been misunderstood in the past.

It’s exposure on a global platform.

While much can be said about the atrocities of social media, the negative effect it has had on society (something I’ve written about many times) and what it’s done to the Millennials and iGens, there’s the flip-side that can be attributed to opening their minds and expanding their tolerance.

Dare I say this could work for the older generations as well?

Thanks for reading.


Comments are pre-moderated to ensure they meet our guidelines. Approval times will vary. Keep it civil, and stay on topic. If you see an inappropriate comment, please use the ‘flag’ feature. Comments are the opinions of the comment writer, not of Castanet. Comments remain open for one day after a story is published and are closed on weekends. Visit Castanet’s Forums to start or join a discussion about this story.

More This is Life, Based on a True Story articles

About the Author

Tanya Gunderson has been writing for the heck of it for many years. Her inspiration comes from her kids, their friends and the craziness of life. She takes great pleasure in exposing life for what it really is and has an open-book approach to her writing.

Her formal education and background include a blink-and-you miss-it stint in the radio and television industry, but it gave her an opportunity to write professionally on a few different occasions.

Email: [email protected]



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories