According to Beloit College's official "Mindset List" website (http://www.beloit.edu/mindset/):
"Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List. It provides a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall. The creation of Beloit’s Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride and former Public Affairs Director Ron Nief, it was originally created as a reminder to faculty to be aware of dated references, and quickly became a catalog of the rapidly changing worldview of each new generation. The Mindset List website at http://www.beloit.edu/mindset/, the Mediasite webcast, and its Facebook page receive more than 400,000 hits annually."
This year’s list does not disappoint those of us who have come to anticipate the latest reminder of just how much the world has changed. Again, from Beloit’s webpage:
"The class of 2014 has never found Korean-made cars unusual on the Interstate and five hundred cable channels, of which they will watch a handful, have always been the norm. Since "digital" has always been in the cultural DNA, they've never written in cursive and with cell phones to tell them the time, there is no need for a wrist watch.
Dirty Harry (who’s that?) is to them a great Hollywood director. The America they have inherited is one of soaring American trade and budget deficits; Russia has presumably never aimed nukes at the United States and China has always posed an economic threat.
Nonetheless, they plan to enjoy college. The males among them are likely to be a minority. They will be armed with iPhones and BlackBerries, on which making a phone call will be only one of many, many functions they will perform. They will now be awash with a computerized technology that will not distinguish information and knowledge. So it will be up to their professors to help them.
A generation accustomed to instant access will need to acquire the patience of scholarship. They will discover how to research information in books and journals and not just on-line. Their professors, who might be tempted to think that they are hip enough and therefore ready and relevant to teach the new generation, might remember that Kurt Cobain is now on the classic oldies station.
The college class of 2014 reminds us, once again, that a generation comes and goes in the blink of our eyes, which are, like the rest of us, getting older and older."
A hardy “Amen” to the last line; for, I am reminded in times such as this that life goes on. I pray two things as a result. First, that God will open the eyes of the younger generation to the fact that a whole world existed before they were ever born. For as the famed British Statesman and Philosopher Edmund Burke once said, “Those who do not know history are destined to repeat it.” Heaven forbid that we should repeat all of the sorrow of the previous twenty centuries!
I pray also that I and many others of the older generation will not simply write off the younger generation as hopeless. I trust we will see in them the future – indeed, our future. I pray we will see in them all the God-given potential to change the world and make it a better place that our own parents and grandparents once hoped and prayed to see in us.
Who knows? Maybe, just maybe, both generations can learn from each other.
The actual list of 75 items, amazing as it is, can be found at: http://www.beloit.edu/mindset/2014.php.
Summaries of the list can be found at: http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2007-08-21-mindset-story_N.htm, and also at: http://www.ivygateblog.com/2007/08/what-the-class-of-2011-doesnt-know/.