Study offers hope for youth


The Emerging Millennials: How Canada’s Newest Generation Is Responding to Change and Choice
Reginald W. Bibby

University of Lethbridge, 2009
212 pages

In The Emerging Millennials, Reginald Bibby, one of Canada’s premier sociologists provides educators, youth workers, and anyone else who desires it with an in-depth analysis of the complex lives of Canada’s teens.

Bibby examined a sample of more than 5,000 teenagers, aged 15-19, to better understand choice and change issues facing emerging adults in Canada.

This is a book every educator, youth worker, and parent needs to read and learn from. Almost every page has a graph that illustrates trends, thoughts, and values from previous generations, mainly baby boomers.

The Emerging Millennials will help the reader understand what teens value, from relationships, sex, religion, substance abuse, technology, family, to the future, and more, and to recognize and relate to the teenager in one’s life. I particularly benefitted from the data that indicated emerging millennials value friendship extremely high; relationships are very important in a technological age where conversation modes include Facebook, cell phones, texting, and who-knows-what-else down the technological road.

This generation is predictably unpredictable; teens are watching and gleaning from their parents’ and grandparents’ generations. But Bibby also says “the 3 R’s” (reading, writing, arithmetic) have been replaced by “the 3 T’s”: technology, television, and travel. I see this in my own house with four emerging adults, and in the classroom where I teach.

I am encouraged that family is of great importance to teens, though family shares with friends when it comes to influence and decision-making. Nevertheless, Bibby’s book reinforces the significance of family life for the emerging adult generation because these teens are making huge decisions based on what they value.

Ron Friesen is director of youth work at Columbia Bible College, Abbotsford, B.C.

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