Kids These Days
“Push back against the age as hard as it pushes against you.” –Flannery O’Connor
I’m riding my bike to work. The sun is rising and the air has that crisp September morning scent. I always enjoy these morning rides, but today my joy borders on bliss. A curious sense of connection washes over me. It’s one of those rare, Forrest Gump moments when the grandeur of life hits you all at once and the mundane is suddenly transcendent—when, for reasons you can’t explain, you find yourself smiling at the sky like a dog basking in the sun after a long winter.
I turn the corner and find myself approaching a group of high school students waiting on their bus. You likely have memories of yourself doing the same—standing on the corner talking, joking, laughing—being a kid. Throw that image out. What I see is six kids sitting (yes, sitting) on the curb silently scanning their phones. Their heads are tilted to the side lazily, mouths open, faces empty, and thumbs swiping steadily in search of distraction. To say they are entranced is not sufficient. Each is a solitary island unconcerned for the life form just inches away. They exude a lobotomized disinterest in the world—completely removed.
I could run up in a pink tutu and start skipping in circles around them and they might never notice. In fact, they don’t even register this bald, red-bearded bicyclist, until I am right next to them. Upon seeing one former student’s surprised recognition, I succumb to the first grumpy old man comment that crosses my mind: “You could talk to each other, you know.”
Not my finest moment. I’d prefer not to be the kind of guy who heckles unsuspecting youth. Yet, on this morning, I am the grouch spouting condescension on deaf ears. So much for bliss. I pedal away with an all too familiar question bouncing around my head:
“What are we doing to these kids?”
I’ve asked myself this question almost every day for a decade while working in high schools, first as a teacher and now a high school campus Strength and Conditioning Coordinator. Every generation faces their share of kids these days pushback. In 1816, The Times of London, called for parents to stand guard against a disturbing new form of dance called “the waltz,” which was sure to erode the fabric of society. Likewise, adults who lived through the Great Depression and Second World War no doubt looked on in disgust as their children listened to rock and roll and were spoiled rotten by the addition of a fourth television channel. I’m sure even our nomadic ancestors couldn’t help but scoff at the behavior of their youngest generation.
“Crull, quit that foolish cave painting and help your sister collect walnuts. Kids these days!”
Yet, the reality remains that our youth development culture has been spinning out of control for some time. Through no fault of their own, more people than ever are coming of age fragile and unprepared for the rapidly changing world they will inherit. The rumblings of crotchety old men everywhere, while not telling the whole story, certainly bear a good degree of truth. Our children are entitled, soft, and lacking much sense of purpose other than to satisfy their most superficial desires. The modern youth development paradigm focuses on providing the highest level of comfort and entertainment possible. We obsess on providing outcomes, but too often ignore the quality of the people we are creating.
Compare our children to those throughout history. How would today’s kids measure up against those of the civil war era or the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s? Certainly, they are more likely to hold edified social views. We can’t overlook the racism, misogyny, and homophobia that characterized most of history (and which persisted well after those often-glorified 1950’s). However, progressive beliefs on race and gender equality are, largely, the consequence of cultural osmosis. For most, they are inherited perceptions that require little effort and, therefore, they are a poor judge of a generation's character. As psychologist Daniel Gilbert put it, “… condemning Thomas Jefferson for keeping slaves or Sigmund Freud for patronizing women is a bit like arresting someone today for having driven without a seatbelt in 1923.”
For the sake of my thought experiment, let’s presume past generations shared our current belief in the equality between the races, sexes, etc. How would today’s youth compare in regard to defining and adhering to their own standards? How would a 14-year-old today compare with one in 1947 in regards to discipline, resilience, courage, gratitude, perseverance, toughness, patience, ingenuity, physical fitness, honesty, loyalty, or citizenship? Who would you rather have by your side in hard times? Who is more likely to replace the toilet paper roll when it runs out?
Still, this book isn’t about creating a hypothetical generational round-robin tournament. I want to explore how we can live better today. What attitudes and skills matter? What pitfalls do we need to avoid? In short, who do we want to be and how can we better prepare future generations to create great lives?
And this is where we find the most damning evidence of a failing culture. Despite experiencing a higher standard of living than any generation in history, our children’s mental and physical health are worse than ever. As a look at the numbers will show, new technology and failing youth development norms are combining to lead our children towards a staggering level of physical and mental degradation:
o Obesity has tripled since 1970 in American youth ages 6-19.
o Today, nearly one in five kids are obese.
o A 2016 Harvard study predicted that of students age 2-19, 57% will be obese by the time they are 35.
· Mental Disorder
o There was a 37% increase in teen depression between 2005 and 2014.
o One in five youth now have a severe mental impairment.
o There has been a 33% increase in the suicide rate for kids 10-19 from 1999-2014 and girls in this range are now three times as likely to commit suicide.
o Between 2010 and 2015, the number of suicides for adolescents aged 13-18 jumped 31%.
o As of 2015, the second leading cause of death for both the 15-24 and 25-34 year old age brackets is suicide.
· Drug overdoses:
o Prior to 2000, annual drug overdoses never reached 20,000. They’ve climbed steadily reaching over 67,000 in 2018.
· School shootings:
o Between 1970 and 2000, annual school shootings never exceeded 50.
o In 2018 there were 116 school shootings. In 2019 there were 111.
In January of 2020, before COVID-19 lockdowns, I gave a presentation to my staff on the depressing state of our nation’s wellbeing and how we might create a culture that better met our students’ needs. Afterward, teacher after teacher came up to me to share their own experiences and reaffirm the changes they’d noticed in students over the past few years. One administrator informed me that, at that moment, our high school had over 50 students institutionalized in a mental health facility.
The evidence speaks to an environment that provides youth with material needs but fails to give them the tools for building a fulfilling life. We have less inequality, less violence, more medications, more mandatory sensitivity training, more pleasure, and fewer pains. So, what the hell is wrong with us?
This question will remain front and center throughout sections one and two, but before we can answer that, we need to better understand our current environment and why its norms are something that we all have to contend with.
Raising Kids in the Age of Noise
Raising kids has never been easy, but our environment couldn’t make it any harder. A hundred years ago your great grandparents were probably raised on a farm, in a small town, or in a close-knit city neighborhood. They grew up attending school, farming, and, when possible, exploring the land around them. More than likely, their peers shared the same core values and basic life expectations. Everyone said “please,” “thank you,” “yes sir,” and “yes ma’am.” Children wouldn’t dream of talking back or storming to their room and slamming the door. There were no Kardashians to keep up with, no Netflix series to binge, and no video games beckoning kids to play into the early morning hours. Nope, that was cow-milking time.
Still, kids played plenty, but it was a more old-school sort of play—self-organized, active, and in-person. From a young age they biked around town, started pick-up games, and simply played for the sake of playing. For those who got into organized sports, it was simple. There was football or soccer in the fall, basketball or wrestling in the winter, and Track and Field, Baseball, or Softball in the spring and summer. There were no skills coaches, select teams, weekend showcases five hours away, or any demand that they specialize at age seven, lest they be left behind to spend every Saturday playing badminton with Grandma on the front lawn.
Nearly every family ate dinner together each evening. There were no fast-food chains. Eating out was a treat and the only convenience food was the apple you picked off the tree in your backyard. Families were more likely to talk at dinner, and relax with books, music, or games in the evening.
Most of all, there were no smartphone feeds beckoning our children to scroll the day away while warping their expectations about how life should be.
But, Dad, everyone else has the brand new Lebrons.
I want to grow up and be a famous YouTuber like Ninja. Nowadays, all you have to do is get really good at video games and you can make millions.
None of my friends have chores. Why can’t you just let me be like the other kids?
All the while Mom’s social media feed is a revolving door of the loving moments that seem to define all her friends’ relationships with their children.
Oh look, Jenny’s son is signing his letter of intent to play on an eight-year-old select soccer team and he is only seven. Is Junior falling behind?
Look at the Johnsons having a great time at the State Fair. My family just walked around whining about the heat while staring at their phones.
All those manicured moments and staged poses masking the reality of their own hard experience parenting in this world. Of course, social media doesn’t just subtly delude us with the belief that every other family is a harmonious bastion of love and support. It knocks us over the head with all the world’s crazy in its daily deluge of comments and self-aggrandizing posts.
I cherish the time I get waiting in line to drop off and pick up my kids each day. That is how they know I love them.
Oh, that is a sweet picture of Sally, but she really shouldn’t be forward facing in her car seat until she’s 14.
The smartphone has changed parenting and daily life more than anything else, pulling all of us into its intoxicating vortex and preying on desires to be seen as a good parent. As much as this constant commentary influences our expectations, our phones have had even more impact on the way we spend our time. For children especially, the compulsion to scan glowing screens and curate a virtual image is replacing the desire to live and engage in the activities that develop capability, meaning, and a sense of reality.
We all understand that modern technology is addictive, but I never fully grasped the immense power of the screen until a couple years ago when I noticed my twenty-month-old was getting lost every time the T.V. was on. At this point, my son Ace had never really watched television. He’d seen Sesame Street and Barney, but this was not the norm. At under two, he was mesmerized by blowing the buds off a dandelion or filling a bucket and dumping it out. For someone so easily entertained and who didn’t yet know what he was missing, we didn’t see the need for television yet.
One evening, as I made dinner and my wife watched the news while feeding our baby girl Brix, I noticed that Ace was at the base of the TV, spellbound by a furniture superstore commercial, like the puppy from 101 Dalmatians. But he wasn’t seeing talking dinosaurs or flying elephants. It was the boring geriatric-centered commercial set they play during the evening news. As the next commercial began, he remained unshakably transfixed, as if he’d been waiting his whole life for them to develop this Fibromyalgia medication.
I redirected him to his toy room around the corner. He began playing, but like Odysseus to the Siren’s song, he kept walking out and becoming hypnotized by the screen. I’d say his name, but it wouldn’t break through. So, I’d tickle him while returning him to his toys around the corner. This cycle repeated. When it came time for him to pick up his toys before dinner, he’d be on a mission to grab the little broom and dustpan that he left by the dinner table and then, as if struck by Cupid’s arrow, he’d abruptly shift into a glazed over, dizzy-looking bob from side to side as his eyes and mind became engulfed in the screen.
Since then, we’ve noticed the same thing any time the television is on. Ace is now four and a talking, running, climbing wild man. But if a cartoon nursery rhyme looped for twenty-four hours straight, he’d sit there all day without speaking until he finally fell asleep. I’d always known that television and video games were compelling forms of entertainment, but I didn’t fully grasp the biological draw humans have to bright, colorful screens.
The TV isn’t all bad, however. Most of us grew up watching The Sandlot and The Lion King, and today we can’t wait to talk to friends about what just happened on the latest streaming series. Shared stories have always been a part of the human experience—there to convey culture and bond communities. The issue isn’t our easily-quarantined televisions, but those screens that are now in our pocket and are designed to learn from each of our unique choices so that they can prompt us to the next juicy morsel—the one our past behavior demonstrated to be too alluring to pass up.
The power of modern devices is felt everywhere, particularly in schools. Take the experience of master teacher, Debbie Stevenson. In her almost 40 years as a teacher, she has taught everything from elementary to high school, riding the ebbs and flows of society from the Cold War, to the internet age, to the smartphone. When I asked her how kids had changed most over her career, she highlighted her experiences on standardized testing days:
“Standardized testing procedures have hardly changed since I was a little girl (a problem I will address in section 3). I remember I couldn’t wait to finish my test so I could grab my book and get lost in a story. I was not typical, however. When testing time finally ended and my focus was broken, chaos erupted around me. This characterized my experience teaching. The second the last test was turned in, the class slipped into pandemonium. Kids couldn’t sit still anymore. It was like trying to corral a zoo for however long you had them before lunch.
But that changed in the years before my retirement. Now, the students finish their tests and they just sit there, anxiously staring at those still working—willing them to finish so the class will be allowed to get their phones. Since the smartphone, it is as quiet after the last test has been turned in as during the test itself, and that is terrifying.”
Insert smartphones into any gregarious class and you will find the same. Without boundaries, these magical tools use us, co-opting our time, distorting reality, and deterring real connection. While problems within youth culture have been brewing for some time, smartphones have taken these issues to another level. Today’s youth experience is so defined by these devices, in fact, that Generation Z (the generation born between 1995 and 2012) is often referred to as iGen.
Dr. Jean Twenge, the psychologist who coined the term iGen, has been studying generational characteristics for over 25 years. According to her, changes between generations tend to be gradual indicating slight deviations in previously noticeable trends. As she says, “beliefs and behaviors that were already rising continue to do so. Millennials, for instance, are a highly individualistic generation, but individualism had been increasing since the Baby Boomers….”
Smartphones changed that, however. “Around 2012, I noticed abrupt shifts in teen behaviors and emotional states,” Twenge notes. “The gentle slopes of the line graphs became steep mountains and sheer cliffs, and many of the distinctive characteristics of the Millennial generation began to disappear.”
Both in attitude and experience, today’s teens are a stark mutation from the oft-criticized millennials that preceded them. Most disturbingly, iGen, born between 1995 and 2012, displays a radical decline in independence. “12th graders in 2015 were going out less often than eighth-graders did as recently as 2009.” Today’s high schoolers are less likely to date, drink, sneak out, drive, or begin working at age 16. And this was true well before COVID-19, when students became even more acclimated to living inside their bedrooms.
We’re seeing a generation that is simply losing the desire to do anything, much less become self-sufficient adults. They are fine staying home and scrolling social media while parents meet all their needs. The result is that they are physically safer, while in far worse mental health. According to Twenge, “Rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011. It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades.”
It is easy to shake our heads at youth and their screen-dominated lives, but they didn’t choose the culture they were handed and they aren’t well-suited to resist it. Can you imagine being 14, today? You are a freshman in high school and all you really want is to be liked. Mom and Dad talk about grades, character, college and all that, but your whole world revolves around being significant to a bunch of other 14, 15, and 16-year-olds. You don’t care if they worship material possessions or display an unhealthy degree of narcissism. You want them to like you and to do that, you need to be like them.
You have to have four social media accounts. You have to check them constantly so that you aren’t missing out. You have to constantly engage with the newest apps. You have to be competing with friends throughout class on the latest, greatest phone game. Most importantly, you have to be constantly curating awesome profiles that show everyone how witty, pretty, funny, careless, defiant, woke, or (enter your significance-driven identity here) you are. Overwhelming.
But while smartphones amplify our issues, we can’t hold them fully responsible. As we’ll explore, parenting norms have been changing for some time. New terms like helicopter parenting (always hovering over kids) have entered the lexicon and are now being replaced with newer terms like bulldozer parenting, which describes the growing number of parents who are intent to mow down all obstacles from their child’s path.
Occupational Therapist, Victoria Prooday has written extensively on the parenting trends that dominate youth development today. In her piece, Reasons Today’s Kids are Bored at School, Feel Entitled, Have Little Patience and Few Real Friends, Prooday highlights some of the destructive parenting norms that she often encounters. Kids are less autonomous, while more celebrated than ever. They get everything they want the moment they want it, dictate to their parents what foods they’ll eat, expect to be constantly entertained, and despite ubiquitous social media, have very limited social interactions. It is a perfect cocktail for dysfunction.
My fear as I write this is that I will come across as the bitter old grouch who sits on his porch barking at kids to “get off my lawn.” But I would love to see more kids playing on my lawn. Morning bike rides notwithstanding, I work very hard to understand students where they are and not hold them responsible for the youth development paradigm they have inherited. I’ve found that kids today are funny, caring, open-minded, and eager to become capable and self-reliant when this standard is clarified for them. Furthermore, I am always pleased to see resilient outliers whose examples fly in the face of my generalizations. These bright spots are worth understanding and building upon, but they do not negate our issues.
The typical modern youth experience—from the school environment, to the parenting norms, to the broader cultural value structure—is ingraining limiting beliefs and destructive habits that leave our kids ill-equipped for the challenges that lie ahead of them. The point isn’t to blame students, teachers, or parents, but, rather, to understand the confluence of factors that brought us here so we can adapt better. Amid this environment of ever-expanding temptations, rapid technological change, and mass marketer manipulation, the costs of going with the flow will be higher than ever before. But “the flow” is harder to resist than you might imagine.
The Pull of Normal
“Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.” –Leo Tolstoy, A Confession
On March 2, 1962, Wilt Chamberlain set an NBA record that still stands, scoring 100-points in a single game along the way to a 169-147 victory over the New York Knicks. It has been over 50 years since then and this record has never been approached. Even with the addition of a three-point shot, the closest single game total falls 19-points shy—the late Kobe Bryant’s 81-point explosion in January of 2006.
Chamberlain’s incredible 100-point game was aided by a whopping 28-points from the free throw line, the most ever in an NBA game. This record is especially significant given Chamberlain’s reputation as a horrible free-throw shooter. Over the course of his career, he only made 51.1% of his free throws. To put this in context, the NBA league average has been over 70% every year in its history. But on that rainy Pennsylvania night, Chamberlain shot 87.5% from the foul line. You might assume that the fates just aligned perfectly that evening—he got a hot hand and everything went in. But Wilt owed his success to a new technique he’d been trying—the mechanically advantageous underhand, or “granny” free-throw.
This often-mocked shooting motion allows for a more consistent shot arc. Yet, it remains stigmatized by modern NBA players and coaches. When legendary free throw shooter (and granny shot advocate) Rick Barry talked to Shaquille O’Neal about using the “granny” shot to cure his free throw woes, Shaq said he’d rather never make one. Chamberlain himself soon switched back to an overhand free-throw and returned to his unreliable ways. As he explained, “I felt silly, like a sissy, shooting under-handed. I know I was wrong. I know some of the best foul shooters in history shot that way… I just couldn’t do it.”
It makes no sense. Chamberlain knew he was making a bad choice that would make him a liability, particularly at the end of games, when trailing teams often foul opponents in order to stop the play clock. Even despite his remarkable first-hand success with the granny shot, Chamberlain chose a less successful route, because it was more socially acceptable—because it was cooler.
Malcolm Gladwell explains this unwillingness to be different using sociologist Mark Granovetter’s Theory of Thresholds. Most people have a high threshold for change. You can show them all the evidence in the world, but they won’t be the first to change, or even the second. This is human nature. We value social norms over self-interest almost every time.
When the norm is fast food at lunch and dessert for breakfast, most fall in line with what everyone else is doing. When the norm is to let kids stare at screens all day, not give them chores, or run yourself ragged with year-round select sports, then this is what most families do because there is social justification.
Our environment pulls most people away from the behavior they’d like to adopt and impedes their ability to notice other possibilities. We confuse the way things are with the way they should be. There have never been more possibilities for learning, innovating, and living differently. But despite increased opportunities for adaptation, most believe that the normal path must be fine because everyone else is doing it.
Humans usually default to whatever the environment promotes. For example, you’d expect that the percentage of organ donors would vary little from country to country. Yet, behavioral economists Eric Johnson and Daniel Goldstein found that countries tend to fall in one of two categories: very low organ donor participation (30% or less) or very high (85% or more). These differences weren’t a consequence of national values, education level, or any other societal differences. Many culturally similar neighbor-nations like Austria and Germany varied dramatically with 99.8% and 12% donor participation, respectively. The difference was that in low participation countries people had to opt-in to be a donor. By contrast, high participation countries set participation as the default choice and required those who did not want to participate to opt-out. These vast differences were almost entirely the result of a default setting. It takes a lot of energy and intention to behave differently.
We must begin this book with an understanding of the overwhelming power of culture. Sure, there are individual measures we can take to promote better development in our children, but each of those changes is far less likely to take root against the tide of a community that continuously throws roadblocks in the way. Any behavior that goes against the tide of culture will be hard to start and harder to maintain.
You may be thinking that cultural norms aren’t so important—that you’d be the type of person to adopt the granny shot. And you may be. But in high school you wouldn’t have been. Social pressure is especially significant to adolescents, who will go to great lengths to model normal behavior, whether in regards to classroom discussion, communication style, or the way they use their smartphone. They see the world in terms of what is “normal” in their peer-group. The disheartening reality is that even the very best parents often have to scale their parenting relative to the norms of the day or risk eliciting a far worse rebellion (some degree of rebellion seems inevitable and appropriate). Thus, as “normal” becomes more extreme, good parents feel compelled to gradually slide in that direction. For better or worse, we gravitate towards the patterns of the world in which we live.
It is time for a paradigm shift in the norms that drive our youth development culture and, thus, our culture at large. While this book is meant to be helpful to individual parents, teachers, and citizens, it is a book about culture. Culture has always been born and reborn around youth development. The central fixation of every society has been the raising and developing of the next generation. This is where the community comes together to establish values, to reaffirm what it stands for, and to convey what they think is most essential. When that shared purpose dissipates, you have a failing culture.
To clarify, I’m pushing two seemingly contradictory arguments, which I’ll address throughout this book:
1. We have to respect the power of culture and take note of the broader cultural trends because those shape our habits, beliefs, and behaviors whether we like it or not. That means we have to fight to craft a culture that will pull more people towards creating a fulfilling life. I’ll highlight the pitfalls and examine the areas where our efforts will make the most impact.
2. You can’t rely on mainstream culture to bring you anywhere worth going. Environment may be influential, but our environment also doesn’t have to seal our fate. In fact, great people are almost always those who are willing to question norms and chart their own course. Change always begins with individuals. Therefore, regardless of what happens in society, my goal is to inspire you to craft a better path. Whether you are a teacher, parent, coach, uncle, grandparent, or concerned citizen, this book will offer a new lens on human development. Your role in helping to clarify a more fruitful path has never been more important (or difficult).
Because of the power of culture, the volatility of our moment, and my love for big-picture thinking, most of my emphasis will go towards clarifying and correcting at the cultural level. This serves individuals best by giving them the context to fully understand modern challenges. But it also recognizes the unfortunate reality that most people aren’t comfortable grappling with. Our culture’s current path is not tenable.
An Uncertain Future
“The real problem of humanity is the following: we have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and god-like technology.” –E.O. Wilson
A book about kids is necessarily a book about the future. We are living through the fourth industrial revolution. Sounds ominous and for good reason. More than any time in human history, our future will be defined by constant technological disruption.
In the last thirty years we’ve watched as email made messaging instant, newspapers, C.D. 's, and taxis became obsolete, and phones began prodding us to check them over 100 times a day. Entertainment is now streamed to our TV without the need for cable contracts and shopping increasingly happens online, with packages brought to our doorstep and groceries out to the curbside for pick-up.
How might life change in the next thirty years as Hyperloops turn a three-hour drive into a fifteen-minute pod ride, 3-D bioprinters allow us to print human organs, and Deepfake technology allows any novice to fabricate videos of people doing and saying things they have not done or said? Will our civilization and its already archaic systems be capable of handling these challenges? And how will we adapt as technology learns to do more of the jobs that we never thought it could?
The reality is we have no idea what the future has in store—only that the pace of change and the volatility of the job market will continue to accelerate. With such uncertainty, it is difficult to determine the specific skill sets our kids need to master. They might spend five years learning Mandarin only to find that a new earpiece translates other languages into your native tongue in real time.
My children, Ace (now almost five) and Brix (age three) will be 32 (my age) in the years 2049 and 2050, respectively. There is no roadmap our schools can create for solving our issues, much less those of the world of 2050. There is no path parents can point to that is sure to bring kids success. As millions of debt-ridden recent college graduates will tell you, even the once-vaunted college route is no longer a sure thing. Future success will be dependent on our kids’ ability to adapt, overcome adversity, and see new opportunities. More than ever, the value of wanting to learn and learning well will define our children’s lives. As author Mark Manson explains:
Processing information and understanding something is not only more valuable than ever before, but the value compounds over time. The lessons you learn today will improve your ability to learn important and useful lessons tomorrow. Similarly, the cost of not being able to learn well is compounding as well. Failure to learn from today’s experiences will be even more costly tomorrow because you will be left that much further behind.
One way to think of the stratification in society at the moment is that there is an increasing gap between those who learn well and quickly and those who do not. That gap comes in all sorts of guises: not just income gaps, but also gaps in health, well-being, divorce rates, addictions, and so on.
Each new innovation changes the job landscape, but even more, it changes the way we live our lives and interact with one another. No one could have foreseen the social costs of a do-everything smartphone device, and an information economy built to increase time on screen. Email increases efficiency but also changes people’s expectations, blurring the lines between work and life. Few expected that having more choices (often billed as a perk of modern living) would tyrannize us in so many ways. The paradox of choice is that with more choices we make worse decisions, we’re less satisfied with each, and our willpower is drained by the fatigue of constant decision-making.
Practiced learners and critical consumers will tend to adapt well to the unforeseen ailments that characterize modernity. For them, challenges are surmountable. Trials are evidence of a need for adaptation. They can enjoy the benefit of innovation without incurring every cost.
As the pace of change increases, so will the gap between these adapters and those who are swept away by the current normal. There has never been more opportunity for learning, yet also never more distraction and confusion. Right now, our youth development paradigm is confused and distracted. We are setting a generation up for failure. Rather than rationalizing this intuition away, let’s use it as an inflection point. Let’s define the values that lead to fantastic lives and fight to give our kids the tools to thrive in an uncertain future.