Mentor and Tutor
I watched the Bottom Line Panel last night on The National discuss what they called “Generation Screwed” about young people, the generation after mine, who are in a much worst position than my generation (Generation X) or my parents generation (the boom).
Everything I learned, I learned from the generation ahead of me – my parents, my relatives, my friend’s parents, my teachers, my employers, our leaders. And much of what they are learning they will learn from us as we assume most of those roles now.
I think it’s important to mentor and tutor whenever possible. Either in your paid work or your volunteer work or your hobbies. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist or a teacher to help someone else learn something new.
I worry that we’ve commodified education to the point that it’s something you can only have if you pay for it (and, as a result, go into debt for it). Young people are graduating with record debt levels into an economy with record youth unemployment. If they don’t pay, they don’t learn. If they don’t learn, we don’t pay. Or worst, they learn and we don’t pay (internships). It’s a bizarre way to progress, isn’t it?
I always welcome the opportunity to have a young person in my field job shadow, work on a project (with pay!) or just come to the office for a visit. We need young people to know that we need young people. And the best way to do that is to invite them in. Mentor, tutor, teach. Share that which was shared with you, a trade, a profession, a craft, whatever it happens to be.
It’s worth all our while. One day, they’ll take care of us.