Should the 2012 Olympics be a wake up call for young people in Australia?

Looking through the newspapers on the weekend highlighted that many sport commentators are questioning the condition of the Australian Olympic team.  But it was the comments about the “Gen Y” training style from Eddie McQuire, Shane Gould and Suzie O’Neil that drew my attention.  Their thoughts about the swim team that indicated that the tough training schedule of previous generations had been relaxed to suit the Gen Y culture.  There were several other writers who commented about how distracting it was for athletes to engagement with Social Networking.  At least from the number of medals won it hasn’t paid off.

It seems that many of the successful countries in these Olympics have not given in to “Gen Y culture” in their training techniques.  Whilst many people question the “medal factories” in China, countries like Great Britain and the USA still demand a lot from their athletes even if they are Gen Y.  There are even some commentators who point out that Australia Gen Y athletes have only grown up in  the super investment period leading up to the Sydney Olympics.  The reality is that the funding is drying up or at least slowed down in many sports.  Whilst the Australian athletes are doing their very best, there isn’t a Gold medal for everyone at the Olympics.

Whilst the articles in the weekend paper were focused on sport, the reality is that the globally trend of young people having the pick of jobs is over.  In his book “Generation Y” Peter Sheahan believed that Gen Y had forever changed the corporate culture, yet the bubble may have burst due to the economic downturn.  In many countries, perhaps except Australia, youth unemployment has gone back to  at least 20%-30% which means young people can’t be as picky with where they work.  Young people are again having to take work where and when they can get it rather than choosing where they feel like working.    The dominance bubble that Gen Y and Youth Culture have had over the past 10 years may burst with the reality of economic crisis.

The wake up call is out there for young people, particularly in Australia, now that the choices are shrinking.  In the economic boom Gen Y were able to buy everything they wanted, travel where ever they wanted and work where ever they wanted.  During the sporting life of Gen Y Olympians there has been a boost in funding ever since 1996 in the lead up to Sydney 2000.  Talk to a Gen Y Australian and they will tell you about where they want to work and what they want to do with their life.  Talk to a Gen Y from Ireland, Greece, Portugal or Spain and they are just trying to find a job.   My own hope is that it should be a balance of young people having options and young people having to earn their way to the top rather than have it handed to them.

This is not meant to be a beat up on our Olympic team or on young people in general.  It just seems from observing the media on the weekend the landscape that young people are facing globally has changed and our young people have been sheltered from it because our economy is doing so well.  It also seems that whilst young people may be natives in the technology landscape they are unaware of how distracting social networking can be to achieving in life.  It seems that there are some important lessons for young people to learn from the experience of Gen Y athletes at these 2012 Olympic games.

What are your thoughts?  Please share a comment below.

Mark of Faith, markoffaith, MarkofFaith


Faith in “uncertain” times

We often hear that we are living in “uncertain times”.  Perhaps people use this term to refer to the economic uncertainty that started two years ago when the economic bubble burst.  Since this time many economies have slumped, retails sales have dropped, property prices have flattened out and many companies have down sized.  The landscape of many industries has changed forever after the record growth rates of the previous decade came to an end.

It is important to realise that only a week before the economic downturn, we were living in “certain” times.  The economists were confident in their predictions, property investors were certain of growth and many industries were expanding their workforce.  With the advantage of hindsight it seems that there was nothing certain about those times except that we didn’t feel uncertain.

This got me thinking, for people of faith are uncertain times really uncertain?  Are these times any less certain than if things were stable?  Perhaps we’re are living in a new paradigm rather than uncertain times.  The economy functions a little differently, property prices may not rise and retailers can’t expect record sales to continue but could things keep growing forever?

In certain and uncertain times in our economy we can be certain that God is looking after us.  Our faith gives us the ability to face all conditions because of Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).  A person who has the mark of faith will be able to follow God no matter what the conditions or circumstances they face in life.  The person marked by faith does not seek a life without difficulties because they seek a life with God.

  • Nehemiah – when he began his mission to rebuild the city wall, he faced difficult and uncertain times but he stayed doing the work of God.
  • Paul – when he began preaching in some towns they made him so unwelcome they ran him out of town, yet he persisted to run the race and fight the good fight.

So the next time someone calls these “uncertain” times, remind yourself that we are always certain that God loves us.  As a person with the mark of faith, how are you being a light of hope in a world that feels uncertain?  Feel free to leave a comment below.