Why the selfie generation is selfless, NOT selfish

Heads in phones, headphones on ears.

It would be easy to dismiss our next generation of decision-makers as self-absorbed, selfish even.

And you’d quite probably be wrong.

And if you spend any meaningful time to listen to what marketing people label as Gen Z (their term) you realise they are anything but.

They are connected, and connected in a way their elder generations can barely grasp.

And you see this when you really meet them, really listen and see what they can achieve when they connect.

I had the pleasure this week of launching a book entirely devised and executed by Transition Year students collaborating with local businesses in Rathdrum, Co Wicklow.

Where2Go is a guide to activities and services in Rathdrum and surrounding areas. It is a small book but so was the Gospel of Mark and The Thoughts of Chairman Mao. Small books can have a huge impact.

‘Where2Go’ is a marvellous example of what Transition Year students and the local business group can produce when thay collaborate.

Young people are often dubbed the ‘Selfie’ generation. ‘Selfie’ needn’t mean selfish, as this contribution by Transition Year students to their local community shows.

What did the Transition Year students learn from producing ‘Where2Go?’

Apart from discovering that there are as many nail and hair salons for dogs as there are for men and women in Rathdrum, they discovered the massive contribution older people make to voluntary services in the local community.

Inclusion and enablement of older people works for the whole community.

In producing ‘Where2Go,’ the students learn commitment, collaboration and a sense of self-worth. It takes resilience to produce something like ‘Where2Go’.

Resilience, the muscle of adaptability, will be crucial to them in a challenging world. It will allow them to bend and not break.

Students, like those at the Avondale Community College, who contribute something like ‘Where2Go’ for their community, will be adults who will make contributions to whatever community they live in.

And that makes the selfless generation, in my book.