The Generational Theory
Along with this blog’s coverage of innovations in
youth volunteering, it is important to articulate and fully understand the psychology behind the generation that most youth projects are aimed at. American authors Cheap viagra soft
om/about/howe.html” target=”_blank”>Neil Howe and William Strauss have studied the various cycles of American society extensively and have formulated a generational theory that splits each cycle into four phases, or what they call ‘turnings’. According to them, each new generation develops values from its previous one but they are distinct from the following one, bringing unique perspectives to their roles in society.
The generational theory postulates that as with individuals, a whole generation’s collective personality develops during childhood, and this causes them to be risk-taking or cautious, for example – traits which then follow them into the next phase and more importantly, reflect the mood of the era.
In the first turning, children are given freedom, hope and security by their families, leading them to distrust authority. When they grow up, they start defying political authority as a result. This then begins the second turning, where parents focus on things like spirituality and self-discovery, leaving the children to grow up on their own, without a focus. This generation then produces the third turning, where, the parents being devoid of social obligations leads to the children being raised in an environment mandated by strict rules and regulations, even politically. Howe and Strauss give the example of “ zero-tolerance rules, laws named after victimized children (Megan’s Law, Amber’s Law), and endless political wrangling over the educational system” being indicators of the Third Turning child rearing mode, which is where we as a society currently stand.
The authors believe that the fourth turning, or Millenials, where young people are increasingly civic-minded and potentially powerful leaders of the next political environment, is where we could be now.
The generational theory is interesting from the point of view of youth volunteering because if it is right, then opportunities to volunteer (that enable them to be civic-minded and participate in the community) are exactly what this generation is looking for. Which makes the work of organisations in this field all the more salient.