Vol. 5 Issue 18 | May 3, 2019

Vol. 5 Issue 18 | May 3, 2019

Three Things This Week

1. Gen Z’s First Family?

What it is: In the upcoming 2020 Presidential election millennials and their Gen Z counterparts are poised to be the largest eligible voting bloc, and a Democratic mayor has their attention.

Why he’s changing the conversation: This week Pete Buttigieg and his spouse are on the cover of Time Magazine as his very public faith is sparking new conversations about Christianity, politics, and homosexuality. In his words, “Christian faith is going to point you in a progressive direction.” Today’s teens apparently agree. Buttigieg is offering a socially justice-minded younger generation a potentially new interpretation of faith and politics. Start a conversation with your kids about how your own faith shapes your political and social views. If Jesus is Lord, how should that impact our social and political postures related to issues like immigration, war, racism, economic disparity, same-sex marriage, or abortion?

2. Poison Control

What it is: The Journal of Pediatrics reports an alarming increase in the amount of teenage girls attempting suicide by poison.

Why it’s alarming: Poisoning attempts by girls ages 10-12 have increased 268% in the last seven years. 29,000 girls ages 16-18 poisoned themselves in 2018. While men and boys are more likely to employ violent means when attempting suicide, girls and women are far more likely to ingest pills or other forms of poison. Whether it’s childhood trauma, screen time, social media anxiety, or performance pressure, the reality is today’s kids are migrating to self-harm in alarming numbers. It’s past time we debunk the myth that talking about suicide and self-harm will lead to suicide and self-harm. It doesn’t. Start the conversation today with your kids. Our Parent’s Guide to Suicide & Self Harm Prevention is a must read. And because it’s so important, get your free copy today with this coupon code: CTFREE

3. BMA’s 2019

What it is: Wednesday night Drake nearly swept the Billboard Music Awards with a record setting 12 wins while Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, and BTS were the top performers.

Why it’s more than a show: Unlike the subjectivity of the Grammy’s, BMA’s are awarded based on key performance indicators like song sales, number of streams, and radio airplay. Basically, if you really want to know what Gen Z is listening to, pay attention to the BMA winners. CNN ranks the top five moments from this year’s event. These award shows develop a larger than life of their own with a pre-show red carpet live stream, the performance itself, and the post-show social media reaction. If your teens watched any or all of the festivity, who or what made the largest impact on them, and why?

What’s Old is New Again

After spending a few April days in Paris I was inspired to pick up Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel, The Sun Also Rises. Several pages into his disturbing tale of American expats living in post-war France, I was struck by how much Hemingway’s “lost generation” has in common with Gen Z. The cynical disillusionment, FOMO, callous sexual encounters, and a growing discontent with the vapid pursuit of pleasure link these two generations across space and time.

No matter our generation or age, stories are the currency of human connection. They cultivate empathy, shape our identity, and convey universal meaning to the human condition. If “fiction reveals truth that reality obscures”, what other timeless works of literature might have something incredibly relevant to say to today’s generation? Here’s five classics to read with your teen this Summer that surprisingly discuss very modern issues.

    1. Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. 125 years prior to the #MeToo movement, Hardy’s tale of female vulnerability, abhorrent masculinity, and sexual assault seems almost ripped out of today’s headlines.
    2. 1984 by George Orwell. In an age when lies are told so often lunacy is accepted as the new normal, Orwell’s prophetic dream has become an unfortunate reality.
    3. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. Mental illness, sexism, and depression. Honestly was this written yesterday?
    4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Integrity, compassion, courage, racial healing, and kindness: Just a few of the virtues all of us need more of in today’s binary world.
    5. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde: Paralleling today’s “insta-world”, Wilde’s protagonist is universally envied for his physical beauty, yet he’s miserable and lonely on the inside. His “attempt to hide his innor isolation with a projection of outer beauty” might also describe the selfie-generation

Gary Alan
Editor in Chief
The Culture Translator