Years ago, I was really worried about the kids I was seeing in my office. Instead of grubby sneakers and tee-shirts, I was seeing designer labels...expensive purses....manicures and pedicures. I was astonished when one mom confessed that she'd had highlights put into her six-year old's hair. What's left?
As the years passed, the parents had to come up with new glittery, shiny things to satisfy their children. One parent flew (by helicopter) his child and high school date to Austin for a special dinner before their prom. Holy cow.
It was a tsunami wave of materialism and I was really worried that the children would drown in it. But it turns out, I didn't have to stress so much. The tide has turned.
This generation is more interested in experiences instead of accumulation of wealth. They value time with their friends and family. As one guy explained it...previous generations gave up a lot for the sake of big houses and expensive cars...we want to savor our lives instead. Don't you love that?
I'm seeing more dads participate in raising the children. Stay-at-home fathers. More guys who can discuss how their child is doing in algebra. Dads who are expert diaper-changers.
And I'm seeing families pare down their life styles and really pay attention to what matters. Instead of big houses, they've come up with a whole new concept of little homes that allow families to focus on something beside making the mortgage payment.
And I've been reading about a capsule wardrobe. It's a systematic approach to buying exactly what you need, making sure that the components all work together and then avoiding impulse buys of items that will hang in the closet and never get worn.
Even the advertisements for this generation are changing. One company for corporate clothing promised 'practicality'. A tagline said something like, "my clothing is the last thing I want you to notice about me." What? Look deeper than the surface? I love that.
I read a quote once from someone's grandmother. She said, "You can never get enough of what you don't need." So true. The things I tend to crave aren't the things I can't live without. And I've got plenty of what I really need- family, friends, food, shelter and clean water.
I've been considering what's important in life and what it means to have real joy. Those kids that grew up and discarded that lavish lifestyle --they're on to something. We should pay attention.