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I graduated from college in 1980, smack in the middle of a recession
and know firsthand how challenging it can be to try to begin one’s life
in earnest, in the middle of a troubled economy.
Times are even tougher and more complex today. This concerns me for the
future of our youth, especially those just starting out in life.

With the sluggish economy and a difficult job market, many young adults
entering the workforce today are experiencing major challenges finding
jobs and beginning their independent lives. Until recently,  these
young adults known as “Generation Y” were considered by many to be the
most “entitled” generation in U.S. history. Now it appears that this
may be changing rapidly as young adults attempt to  manage their
expectations with the realities of today’s world and a shaken economy.

How can we better support our youth in the face of these challenges?

As parents and elders, I think it will be increasingly important to
provide mentoring, opportunities and encouragement to help these young
citizens and future leaders. My husband and I recently became inspired
to begin a local organization to help young adults to become
entrepreneurs — to teach them how to use their creativity and ideas
to create work opportunities for themselves.

Undoubtedly, entrepreneurship is one of the mega-trends that will
continue to expand over the years to come. It makes good sense for a
young person to learn the skills of self-sufficiency, innovation, and
practical business sense that are required to successfully launch and
manage a business. Since small businesses employ nearly half of the
private workforce, this would also be good for the economy.

As technology and the internet continues to expand in new ways like
social networking, Gen Y’ers, who are hard-wired for technology, may
very well be the generation most suited to truly harness these
technologies in ways we haven’t yet imagined. With our encouragement
and support, these revolutionary tools could easily begin to create new
career opportunities, many of which are not even in existence today.

The “Green” revolution is another area of potential growth. We simply
must learn the skills of sustaining our lives and protecting our planet
from the ravages of human waste and consumption. With our encouragement
and support, Generation Y could create an entirely new sector of the
economy by working together to build green industries that create green
jobs .

If you are the parent of a young adult (or are one yourself), it is
very important to maintain the broader vision for our youth, the
economy and our future. The difficult economic times we are
experiencing today will ultimately shift, as all circumstances do.
Encourage and inspire the young adults in your life to believe in
themselves, and help them to hold a longer-term vision of growth and
possibility for the world and for their lives.

Remember, they greatly need our help and support in finding their way.

The future of the world depends on it.

Here’s a prayer for today:

Dear God,
Help us as parents and elders to hold a vision of hope
and possibility for the youth of today. Guide us to
mentor and support them to use the gifts you have given
them to create a better world than we have left for them.
Help them to learn from our wisdom as well as our mistakes.
Fill them with faith, courage, and determination to overcome
the challenges they face as they step forward into adulthood.
Help us to gently guide them to lead with their hearts,
to explore their minds, expand their potential and in doing so,
discover new ways and possibilities for creating and sustaining
a more peaceful and prosperous world for all.
And so it is.
Amen.

Peace and Blessings!   

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