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We have long defined a generation by its characteristics and overriding traits. Post-war baby boomers are best known for their revolutionary idealism. Millennials, as global citizens, drawn to investing in experiences over materials. Gen Z is not confined to identity norms and value uniqueness over status. But, perhaps no more. So long millennials, adios Gen Z, au revoir baby boomer. We are all now collectively part of Generation C. Coronavirus has been described as a leveller. This can be debated on a social and political front but, we will all, to some degree, be changed by our present experiences forever.

So, what do we want Gen C to represent? What should we be known and remembered for? Here are a few suggestions.

Generation Courage

Whether you’ve had to brave isolation alone or with your family, we all deserve a medal of honour after this. One way or another, sacrifices have been made and life has changed unrecognisably at a rate of knots. It takes serious courage to face all of that. Of course, generation courage can also be personified by the valour shown by those on the front line; the NHS, bin collectors, shop workers our dedicated, unwavering school staff.

Generation Creativity

I have been absolutely astounded by the way in which Malvern St James has transitioned into remote learning. The creativity and talent shown by our teachers, as they lead ‘classrooms’ of pupils all over the world with innovative and engaging lessons, all online, has been nothing short of awe-inspiring. Not only that, with extra time and breathing space, there has been time for creativity to blossom. Robert M. Pirsig said ‘boredom always precedes a period of great creativity’. I wonder what new and exciting projects and ventures will come out of this period of stillness.

Generation Critical Thinking

With an avalanche of information at our fingertips and the time to spend looking at it, never has there been a greater need to scrutinise and carefully consider our information consumption. Screen time is likely to be at an all-time high for many of us meaning we need to take greater care about what we expose ourselves to. Curating a social media feed that serves you, uplifts you and inspires you is essential. Feel at liberty to block, mute or unfollow accounts which are having even the slightest negative impact on your day. Research the facts from trusted organisations and limit your news intake to a healthy amount; keeping you informed, not overwhelmed.

Generation Clarity

This is as good an opportunity as there is, to take stock of what’s really important. In a time of crisis, the things which matter seem to sharpen in focus and the things that don’t, dissolve into insignificance. The people who have been in our thoughts, the projects taking shape in our mind’s eye, the slower pace of life, board games with family, belly laughing, time for reading, being outside. It’s well worth taking the time to consider what’s worth keeping and what’s worth letting go of when lockdown lifts.

Generation Compassion

There have been endless examples of human kindness and compassion at its absolute best throughout this awful time. Within our own community, our wellbeing champions have been checking in on colleagues, our Pastoral Prefect has been offering a listening ear to her peers, our wonderful PE staff have been running yoga and HIIT sessions to keep us moving, Miss MacDonald has been yarn bombing Malvern with crocheted hearts and the list goes on. When this is over, let’s all aim to feel proud of the acts of kindness we performed; big or small and take inspiration from each other. This is summed up by the words of Fred Rogers which we so often reach for in a crisis. ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping’.

I could go on. The question is, how will you define your Generation C? Curious, committed, caring, community-minded, connected, conscious, can-do, cognisant, cutting edge? I would argue that for all of us, we can consider ourselves Generation Commendable.

Words by: Ms Keri Haw, Deputy Director of Boarding & Mental Health and Wellbeing Lead