The Next Generation: Leaders or Followers? Entrepreneurs or Cogs?

I file this under "Entrepreneurship" because this is a cause about which I’m most passionate: life entrepreneurship. In particular, what the effects of a micromanaged generation is on tomorrow’s entrepreneurs and agents of change. David Brooks, in his blog available for TimesSelect users, responds to a reader’s question about this. He says "watch for the mid-life crisis." Indeed.

Link: Brooks – NYT Web Journal.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about whether we are raising a generation of followers, not leaders. The University of Michigan does studies of how children spend their time. The results show that since 1986, we have been raising the most supervised generation of children in history. Kids spend less and less time just hanging around or inventing their own games, and more and more time in adult-supervised skill-enhancing activities.

They spend between a third and a fifth less time hanging around the neighborhood and between a third and fifth more time going to soccer practice, oboe practice, S.A.T. prep and what have you.

College professors frequently tell me that they wish students would challenge them more. On the other hand there’s clear evidence that children are getting along much better with their parents. In short, it’s a lot less cool to be a rebel. Will this lead to a population of lemmings? Frankly, I don’t see that in the young people around me. The hippies, when you get down to it, were pretty conformist in their own way.

Will they on the other hand, suffer from the biggest mid-life crisis of any generation in history once they get tired of work and being good? Watch for it. Should be fun.

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