development leadership parenting resilience Jun 14, 2022

I personally hate the derogatory term ‘snowflakes’ that is used to describe the younger generation of today. I have always been an advocate of those that follow in our footsteps and can recall plenty of situations where I have prepared young adults to go and do things that I would not wish upon anyone, but are necessary, regardless of their age. 

I was always confident in their ability and have always argued that they are better prepared than I was at their age and often have had to prove themselves in the harshest of environments.

Recently though, I have personally witnessed my first experience of this so called ‘snowflake’ culture.  An individual who shall remain nameless volunteered to undertake a big responsibility for which they would be compensated for both financially and with time off. This is not a complex task but there is a high degree of responsibility and self-discipline required.  

What I failed to realise until now, is that there is also a requirement for psychological resilience.  Unfortunately, the individual involved is lacking in this area of development and after less than 48 hours had raised a number of concerns they had regarding the situation. This is not a problem as I encourage openness and discussion, appreciated the feedback and was formulating a plan to move forward together. My concern is that the individual did not allow for any iteration or development of the relationship and the situation, making their decision to leave their responsibility after a further 36 hours. 

So in total, we had agreed and prepared for this working relationship for three months leading up to the commencement date and after only 92 hours, the individual had given up. 

As you can imagine, a huge amount of self-reflection has taken place in an attempt to understand what I did wrong and why the situation was untenable. 

We have discussed the situation together and the individuals answer was that ‘it doesn’t feel right and that they are not comfortable’. I can fully appreciate this. This individual is 21 years old, was not content with the situation they found themselves in and sought guidance from their parents.

This is where I am shocked and concerned. Both parents encouraged the individual to leave their responsibility at the earliest opportunity. They did not encourage them to see through their responsibility, which was only intended to last 100 days anyway, not exactly a life sentence,

This is the point of the article. The public, media etc are very comfortable in espousing theories about the younger generation and their lack of resilience, but it is the parents that we are not holding to account. Psychological resilience is formulated and developed through the adversities you encounter as a child, and more importantly, how you are nurtured through such situations.  

We need to change the rhetoric surrounding the next generation of people, stop blaming them for the failure of their environment, start supporting them and leading by example. Parents, leave them to figure it out on their own, you can’t always be there for them, that is a false reality and will only harm them in the long term. Obviously there are situations where it would be wrong not to intervene, but unless it is life threatening then let them learn.  

Create a resilient attitude, provide a suitable developmental environment, and lead by example. This is the way that they will enhance their own psychological resilience development.


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