Allina Robie has a grandfather in Kansas who is dying. Because the hospital is filled with the COVID-19 virus, he will die alone. His wife of 61 years can’t be with him or say goodbye to him. Allina has a busy, complicated life, but today she will drive from Georgia to Kansas to hold her hand. And when she arrives, she will be her grandmother’s hero.
As we enter a time when life increasingly takes on a hard edge, we will be looking for heroes like Allina more and more. Young people who previously looked cynically at a world that didn’t need them will increasingly respond to the cry of a world in pain.
In the prophetic book The Fourth Turning, we see a cycle of four generations. The Silent generation (Artists) gave birth to the Prophet generation (boomers). Their children were the Nomad generation (GenX) and they were followed by the Hero generation (millennials).
A year ago, this relationship between boomers and millennials was codependent and dysfunctional. But in the year ahead, we will see that dynamic change. Whereas boomers squandered opportunity and resources, millennials like Allina will begin to rise up as heroes.
In peace time, those who would be heroes lack the cause that pulls them out of obscurity. Sitting in parents’ basements and in coffee shops, millennials looked like dilettantes. But in the years ahead, as the shape of our new world resolves, they will respond to the challenge and begin to step into destiny.
In Seattle, Elizabeth Dawson serves in Swedish hospital as a nurse. She tends to late-stage patients on ventilators. She takes care of patients like Allina’s grandfather, helping them to die.
Organ failure and suffocation is a terrible way to go. Elizabeth wants to ease the pain of her patients as their lungs begin to shut down.
Elizabeth doesn’t see herself as a hero. She sees the responsibility of caring for those in deep pain and she responds selflessly. To those patients struggling to breathe, she is a comfort, the last human at their bedside before they enter eternity.
If you’re a boomer who has been frustrated by your millennial child in the past, expect a new dynamic in the future as your child begins to find his or her place in the world. They will go further than we did. They will respond to the world’s pain like Allina or Elizabeth.
Our job is to believe in them and cheer them on.