Why Generation Z is feeling a reverence for calm.
I always think kids are smarter then we give them credit, they are more in tune, they feel what they feel and they like what they like, they haven't decided their life yet and this makes them the perfect soundboards for what is really going on in our culture.
I recently asked a teen, she was going on about how Bob Ross is suddenly so trendy at the moment, (this great PBS painter from the 80's who taught life-lessons of calm through the brush, has long passed on since his shows on painting aired, yet the response to paraphernalia marketed towards I assume my generation, is all the rage with Generation Z kids) Urban Outfitters, hot Topic and Target are carrying BR shirts and teens are the ones hashtagging his famous lines.
I said "Why do you guys like Bob Ross so much?"
She said, "I don't know I guess, watching him makes you feel so... Calm. There's not a lot of things that are calm out there.."
I was floored, and what I have now realized is that teens are craving something that we have long abandoned outside of the yoga studio or netflix hour.
It is not a surprise or a wonder, everything they see is full of sounds, movement, chemically stimulating smells, social feedback & foods full of excitants and addictive natures. Emphasis is put on competition from their looks to their grades, and schedules for elementary to teens is somehow busier than my own.
I stopped to pause about what this valuable feedback from one of my mini-informants meant, how has calm become the mysteriously crave-able commodity of the teen realm?
I realize now why my students like to come in, have a cup of hot tea, tell me whats on their mind, and dive into the artistic side of their brain in a safe space full of peace, fresh air, and aromatherapy, whats good for the goose is good for the gander, or in other words, if we need it they probably need it even more.
Whether you have your own kids, (I simply rent them) are an aunt, uncle, etc. I think it's worth thinking about how what they really need from us is not more more more, I think its easy to try and show them how we care by reminding, buying, pushing, encouraging and such, but if we really listen to them they can tell us, and they are not to small to appreciate and learn the all too important benefits of learning how to feel calm.
I think about how we measure a successful day in how many things we get done, and I can't help but wonder how this hierarchy of quantity is affecting us all. I think Bob was on to something big when he said how mistakes are "just happy little accidents" as he turned them into little painted trees, and it takes some fresh minds to remind us, "hey, I miss the feeling of calm, how do I even get there if no one is showing me?"
I would hope we can make a difference while they are still looking to us and do what we can before the next couple generations of elections shifts into their world,
Model some peace to a youth this week and see what happens, you could both surprise each other & maybe even add some extra calm in your day;)