In this unprecedented time, I thought it might be an opportunity to do a little forward planning, especially for those of us involved in christian mission, youth ministry and church.
We need to start making preparations for the state of youth ministry in 10 years time, where there will be an emergence of a new generation, from Baby Boomer, Generation X, Y, Millenial and Generation K, all neatly diagnosed into generalisations, hubris and condemnation, and no diagnosis really helped anyway, but flick the digital clock forward 10 years and there’ll be a new generation emerging. And although Rick Bartlett wrote in 1997 about reaching millennials (and 23 years later nothing has changed) , Its pertinent to start thinking about Generation C.
So- what will be generation C? – well they’ll have the following characteristics…
Unlike previous generations that have a time span of 12 -15 years (1945-1970, 1970-82, 83-2000) Generation C are more specific, for they are born between December 3rd and December 25th 2020, by virtue of being conceived, at precisely 10.30pm on Saturday 14th March 2020, when there was an additional early bedtime in the TV slots due to no Match of the Day being shown. (and who stays up to watch repeats of Mrs Browns boys). And 3000 babies as a consequence are now due to be born in the early part of December 2020. Whilst there are a number of additional children born later into early 2021, it is these March 14th conceptions that are the spike in the demographic. Since 2021, there have been many conferences to ascertain whether ‘Generation C’ covers all of them, and if there’s a Generation C, and Generation C+ for 21/03/2020 onwards conceptions.
The early pregnancies of the Generation C babies are affected by the combination of heightened anxiety caused not by a bacterial virus that started to take hold, but by the narcissistic incompetence of the two main leaders of the free world during that time, and this fear transmitted through to these babies, and so, they became empaths in the womb, detecting emotion, and a desire for comfort and security. (in case you hadn’t noticed every generation is produced under fear or mourning conditions, WW2, Cold War, Diana death,,,)
An internal resilience underwrites the capacity of Generation C, they have an inner resolve, for as they are born, their first few years are affected by an international community and make do attitude. The Virus, has raised the bar of humanity and the great waves of decadence that fit the previous 50 years and 3 generations is over. These children become loved. Loved because love has become more important than entertainment, money or ego (that, is after the two world leaders have been removed). These children are raised in shared clothing, have reused chairs and accessorises, and are raised in larger communities who have created bonds and stuck together through the 2020 outbreak. Neighbours help with baby sitting, like they’ve shared food from the garden during the pregnancy.
Unlike some generations, Generation C children have a craving for the outside world, to explore and be in the countryside, this is as a direct result of the self isolation of their pregnant mothers in 2020, who were unable to experience this, as soon as the wind hits the face of the baby gen c, it awakes. Nature is craved by Generation C like no generation before.
Like every generation before it, and so, this is probably a statement of the human condition, (or the call of many youth ministry leaders who seem to decry this as an ideal, yet barely fulfil it), its a generation that not only has a high value for authenticity, but so much, that as babies they can detect extreme situations of bullshitting. This is in part due to the visceral reactions of Generation C parents to the television when either of those unnamed world leaders appeared during the crisis. The term Baby Bullshit detector is coined for Generation C babies who develop an acute vomit reflex when they spot a fake, or a narcissist anywhere close. It is the first generation where emotional capacity is passed through the womb, and evident in them as babies.
Unlike the Millenials, and the Generation before Generation C (B?) – this is not a generation who are able to receive the full nutrients that world wide commercialism has to offer in their growth. It takes 5 years for Generation C children to undertake the basic taste of avocado on sourdough for breakfast, (some Generation B are weaned on this), quinoa is later, 10 years, and the luxury of fragranced toilet paper during potty training is something only afforded to the few (those who live so near to a supermarket that they see the delivery arrive). Generation C are not blessed with variety and choice, there is still rationing in the shops as they grow up, they navigate a weird dichotomy of their parents queuing up for toilet roll, whilst at the same time being able to have electric power cars that have internet connectivity.
So, reaching Generation C, the 10 year olds in 2030, is going to take some monumental efforts. Luckily by then, there will be other resources published like ‘mourning the end of baby boomer church’ , ‘leading as an Xer on your own, and pleading one millennial to pop by the avocado toast faith breakfast’ and ‘theres so many generations can we just not agree this is all a bit generalising’ by then. But this group of 10 year olds will attract significant interest. Channel 4 film makers will follow their progress for decades, sociologists will ask them questions for research, and YFC will find one who might be a christian and develop a resource.
This sense of community and limited spoiling means that Generation C are not clouded by materialism in a way that previous generations are usually said to have. They have a big regard for community and relationships, because they experience them, and not just in the immediate family. They are inclined to nature and spirituality, and value things that are more important that objects and things – such as personal connections and touch.