One of the main reasons I teach is to be around young people. I know as I grow older, I become more practical. I’m less apt to take chances or to embark on new endeavors. I also moan and groan more. But as a professor, I’m forced to be around hordes of energetic individuals (students) who push me to be more open, less judgmental and less grumpy. In turn, my students help me to seek out new opportunities where I normally wouldn’t. They help me see possibilities where I’d normally see dead-ends. In turn, they make me more creative.
Too often, we worry about the troubles kids bring and don’t focus enough on the benefits of youthful behavior. Here are some beneficial qualities of young people:
- They are adaptable
- They are eager to learn
- They are enthusiastic
- They learn quickly
- They are tech savvy
- They want to make a difference
- They like challenges
- They are aware of trends
- They embrace change
On the flip side, another benefit associated with hanging out with kids or young adults is they get to be around you. Young people need mentors as much as old people need energy. It’s a two-way street. Young people gain valuable life lessons from emulating mentors. Over time, we’ve lost many of the apprentice/mentor relationships in education due to the heavy reliance on testing as our main source of assessment. Constant interaction between generations brings some of that back.
We all benefit from relationships that cross over generational boundaries. Older people become more flexible and younger people wiser. If your personal or professional networks don’t include young people, I encourage you to begin adding them.