Sunday, February 12, 2012

The 386 Generation of Korea

Born in the 60s they are called the 386 generation (named after the PC model of that time). In the 1980s they were of college age and active in the democracy movement of the 80s. They are now the elite of our society. They were brought up not experiencing the poverty of their parents, but they did experience the financially difficult times when the country received funds from the International Monetary Fund. They saw that the societal safety net was not in place, which helped move the generation to the right.

Writing in the opinion column of the Catholic Times a priest calls them the smart generation, having grown up in the digital world we live in today.  They were prominent in backing the politically independent mayor of Seoul last year. The priest wonders if they are not again coming to center stage.

The priest in his experience with this generation sees them concerned for the future. They are realistic. They come  quickly to terms with the new and at the same time inwardly feel uncomfortable about the future. There are those that say they will be the last generation to live with their parents and the first to be left behind by their children. They will be the bridge between the young and the older generation.

Our columnist feels that the way this 40-plus generation works at bridge-building between the generations will make a difference in the future. The problems pending are becoming more acute and diversified. He has no way of knowing the future but would like the Church to start communicating with this generation.

To speak to this generation it will be necessary, he says, for the Church to change both the content of its message and its current methods of communicating. This generation has already been instrumental in changing society so any attempt at one way  authoritative communication will meet with rejection, and make the transmitting of the Gospel message difficult. Engaging in a more open dialogue, he feels, will bring a sympathetic response.

What they want, he says, is genuineness, understanding and hope. They want more Christians gathering to discuss the Gospels, to pray and be a part of devotional groups, natural and spontaneous groups that can feed their desire for a better future, for them and for the country.

If the members of this young and influential generation, especially those showing leadership qualities  are able to grow spiritually in the varied  communities of the Church, he has no doubt that they will play a key role as bridge builders, and be a valuable resource for a healthy Church and society.