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The Anxious Conversation . . . Generation

Updated: Apr 22

It has been an interesting week in the loneliness/mental health space. Jonathan Haidt's new book The Anxious Generation has everyone talking. Which is awesome. What is even better is the sane dialog that it is creating. We don't all agree on the next steps to help this Anxious Generation which I think is okay. We don't have to agree, but we do have to look at this next group of leaders and say, something isn't right and we want to help.

I was so fortunate to be interviewed yesterday by a senior in high school, Nathan, who wanted to know more about Only7Seconds and how to be an advocate. He asked great questions and gave me the opportunity to think as I answered them. He was articulate, prepared, interested and ready.

Also this week, we were able to spend time with our own Zs. Our sons are 22, 20 and 14. In the army, college and high school. We talk about phones, social media, mental health, connection, all. the. time. I shared the research and ideas from Jonathan's book as I read it the day it came out. I obsessively read it so I'd be able to enter the conversation informed. Like Nathan for our conversation yesterday.

Here is what I know about the Zs in my life. They are not zoomers some reincarnate of the boomers before them; they are not zombies just lost in space; they are each individual humans trying to find their place in this world. They need us and each other. If you don't know how to say no to a phone, let's practice, if you can't let them wander the mall or the neighborhood alone, practice. If you aren't having family dinners, schedule one. If you don't know how they are feeling, ask. If you are addicted to your own phone, or socials or something else, get help. If you feel like there is a silver bullet for anything, I'm here to burst the bubble. It is going to take all the approaches, all the people, all the tools we can combine to show our children they matter. Not only are they suffering from loneliness there is also some neglect. I have done it--sometimes it is easier to pour a glass of wine and watch Ted Lasso on the couch and let the teen escape into the xbox on a Friday night, BUT then on Saturday, go for a walk, take in a game, engage. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.

I believe my place on this blue marble is to make life better for the people around me. I fundamentally believe that we are better when we feel connected, seen and heard. Either through my work at Only7Seconds with youth or through the launching of The Mother Heard for moms and those that love like moms, it is intentional meaningful connection that will change the world! Currently we have the Connection Curriculum at O7S and I have 7 steps to a better story at TMH, we are building more connection tools for coaches, families and moms. Some are paper and some are online, some are apps and some feel like common sense. I'm here to listen, to promote and to engage with anyone and everyone on a mission to end loneliness and to create better connections.

Like I said to Nathan, the number one thing I think we can all do right now is to listen to each other stories with empathy and not compare them. Each story matters. Each person matters. It is through the stories that we find similarities, differences, connection. Same goes for opinions. I'm listening and ready to share. Join me.

Me, the cute husband and our Zs going into the world. Circa 2022.

BTWs: Jonathan is technically a boomer and I sit firmly in my Xness. Generations are cool but just like anything else, they are a starting point. Here's a hack you can borrow for today. Think of a characteristic of a generation and ask someone, "So, the internet says that your generation likes or does ____________, how do you feel like that is true for you and your friends?"

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