Mr Andrew Hawkins – Deputy Headmaster and Head of Senior School
We face many challenges raising adolescent children in this day and age. According to award-winning social researcher Mark McCrindle our current Generation Z (aged 7-21) will have 5 careers, 15 homes and 17 jobs in their lifetime. They are referred to as the Generation Connected, iGen, Screenagers, Digital Integrators, The Zeds, or the Dot Com Kids. They will have seen the changes from www.google.com in 1997 to the Apple iWatch in 2015 and everything in between from Myspace, Twitter, Instagram, and the GoPro. For the Baby Boomers (age 52-70) among the parent body and for those that fall in to the Gen X (37-51) and Gen Y (22-36) you had your Childhood, your Teenage Years and your Adulthood. Our Gen Z and Gen Alphas have their Childhood, their Tweens, the Teenage Years, Young Adulthood, Kippers, Adulthood, Career-changer Years and the Downagers all to look forward to. The Gen Zs live at home longer, even in to their 30s, they will have their first child at 33.0 years and have a life expectancy well in to their 80s. The landscape of our Generation Z has changed and we have to respond to them accordingly.
If I had to prioritise what is the greatest challenge dealing with this generation of boys, I would say social media and screen time is high on the list, the increase in risk taking behaviour is also up there, but the biggest challenge I feel is finding ways to teach them the values of commitment and loyalty. Sport has always been a great vehicle for finding examples of what people are willing to do to represent their countries or their teams. With the age of professionalism, it is increasingly difficult to find examples of athletes demonstrating loyalty and commitment to their club or country. Unfortunately, in sport there are far too many examples of athletes not only changing clubs regularly, but even representing numerous countries if the laws surrounding their chosen sport allow them to. I use sport as the example but you don’t have to look far to see examples of this in our largest companies in Australia but what is even more frightening is that if your son is currently in Year 12, he will have seen four Australian Prime Ministers since Year 9!
This poses a massive challenge for our Gen Ys who are craving for role models to demonstrate solid morals and values. This is a difficult time for some of our TSS Tennis players and Football players who signed up to their sports and need to commit to their teams and show loyalty to their school. The challenge they have is that some of the boys are starting their pre-season training for Basketball and Rugby and feel if they don’t attend the pre-season sessions they may miss out on selection next term. Commitment and loyalty are extremely important traits for our boys to show now and through their journey of life as a Gen Y. Committing to teams and sports at school is a great way for your son to demonstrate these traits at a young age and hopefully take these qualities through life. He will still have opportunities to gain selection for his Basketball or Rugby Team, as well as finish off his current activity. A win for your son and a win for TSS.
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