THE SHARING GENERATION:
A Preview of The Mindset List® for the Class of 2017
By now we are familiar with adjectives that go before “generations,” such as “Greatest” and “Silent.” Or sometimes we just hear “the Boomers.” For some reason that bunch isn’t called “the Booming Generation.” Maybe that’s a good thing, too.
The current generation, I predict and I hope, will be called The Sharing Generation. They may very well become the most secular generation–and yet also the generation best organized for service–in American history.
Why? Well, consider for a moment how much—and what–they share:
*They share information: it is a generation that has grown up with the electronic cut and paste and forward.
*They share themselves: it’s a generation that is constantly “chatting,” which doesn’t mean that they are necessarily talking, even on the phone, much less face to face. They text all day; they text all night. They wake up and text before their feet hit the floor.
They share transportation: they tend to flock to big cities for employment, where it’s more expensive to keep a car, but in fact they seem less interested in owning their own autos than previous generations have been, and they take public transport.
They share our national identity; it’s a generation that is not sold on the idea that there is a single national identity. They’ve grown up in a multi-ethnic society. One survey suggested that in the future they wouldn’t follow a political party that could only attract whites, even if they are themselves white.
They share knowledge; it’s a generation that has not grown up with the lecturer (in educational terms, “the sage on the stage”) but with the facilitator (“guide on the side”). They’ve absorbed educational methods that involve small-group collaborative learning rather than more passive listen-and-take-notes.
Finally, they share spiritual values; it’s a generation that is interested in spiritual ideas—such as meditation and service—but it’s not a sectarian generation. It has a more ecumenical approach. It’s spiritual but not religious in the sectarian sense.
Meanwhile, The Beloit College Mindset List®, for the class of 2017, will be out on Tuesday, August 20. You can find it at