I am a fruit of this generation we often like to call generation Y, well at least by definition. If you ask me, I would much rather be known as a generation X person or maybe a breed of the two, afterall generation Y seems to get a lot of beating from the society. But for purposes of this article, I have put my generation Y cap. I guess I have just accepted who I am.
So many things have been said about us generation Y. But I will focus on something that is close to my heart, we are the quick buck generation.
You see, I believe we are the fruits of often absent parents.
The generation of my parents parents (in other words my grandparents) were largely poor. They hustled, they lived the hard life, they went through thick and thin. They know best just how the African sun can scorch.
My parents watched this. They saw just how hard life was my grandparents. So when they were adults, when what life became depended on them, they swore not to be poor, they swore not to have such a hard life, and even more, there was no way their kids would live that life.
So they worked hard. They labored. They looked for the monies. And I think their efforts largely paid off, it is the reason why Africa and Kenya in particular has an increasing middle class. However, they forgot one thing, we their kids. They were so busy providing that many of my generation and worse the generation after me have been raised by ‘maids’ and ‘househelps’! The result is kids who have defined for themselves what is important.
And what is important to us is very different from the generations before.
For starters we believe in the quick buck. Anything that will ensure you get ahead in the shortest time period possible. That is why we have no loyalty to any employer, you either look after my interests or I hit the highway. There are many arguments for and against this spirit, for me it is one of those.
However, what troubles me about this attitude is you will not find us stopping at look at anyone else. We are so self-absorbed; life is about me, I and me. The plight of others barely bothers us.
We subscribe to the theory of you cannot save the whole world and so everyone for themselves, we are the real ‘man eat man’ society, capitalism at its best!
I recently told a friend of mine, of how a group of people are educating some kids in Kibra (no I know how Kibera is written, I just like how foreigners pronounce it, it cracks my ribs!). Back to my story, I told him of how some people are teaching kids in Kibera and how he should join and he looked at me very blankly. What was in it for him? Why should he bother?
We can care…do we want to?
You see in this race for the best life possible we have turned away from our neighborly instinct and created a generation that will care less.
My problem with this is what I have highlighted before, that there is no man who really progresses who does not give, who does not look at the plight of others. It just does not happen. Billionaires know it and it is about time Kenyan generation Y discovered this.
We will get the monies, but if all these monies are just for us to accumulate, we will be very disappointed when we get them. We will have that feeling of ‘aaa, all this race for just this!’
You see we need to find a way of looking into the eyes of our society, playing a part however small in making someone else’s life better. That is the only way our lives will really make sense.
It is easy to argue that we are hustling; we do not have enough money and time to give. Believe me; if you cannot give the small you have, there is no way we will be able to give the much more we will get. So fight yourself, fight the self-centeredness, let’s see where we can be part of the solutions this continent needs. That is the true legacy of life.
I also challenge the governments; our education system is creating selfish children. In the long run we cannot afford this. Find a way of entrenching volunteerism in the education curriculum. Perhaps make it a requirement for us to do some volunteer work, to play some role in the society. I know many arguments have been raised against this but I strongly believe, a seed will be sown by this.
To a new generation – Generation We Care – Generation Give!
PS: Benjamin Franklin – I would rather have it said, ‘He lived usefully,’ than, ‘He died rich.’