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There’s always a lot of talk around Gen Z, but it turns out Generation Alpha are even more conscious of today’s politics at an earlier age. In fact, they’re not just more politically aware at a young age, they’re more socially and emotionally aware with a strong sense of protection for those around them. This budding generation has earned themselves the moniker, “honey badger” across social media and it seems to be sticking.
Upworthy sat down with Laura Loray, a licensed clinical social worker and psychiatric nurse practitioner. Loray is the one who actually coined the term honey badger for this new generation. As someone who specializes in working with kids and adolescents, Gen Alpha falls right into her purview on a daily basis but it wasn’t just her clients that sparked the endearing nickname.
“Obviously, we all remember that video from 15 years ago with the ‘honey badger don’t care, honey badger don’t give a sh*t’ and once I started seeing all these videos of parents saying their babies were built different,” Loray recalls.
“I started really looking at them to see what this extra spiciness is about because they’re very, very spicy and they just don’t care. They’re fearless and that’s when it popped in my brain because honey badger don’t care. I don’t remember what video I first said it on but people in the comments agreed. It just fit like puzzle pieces, it just fit perfectly.”
You may think with a nickname like honey badger that they wouldn’t care about much of anything but Loray says Gen Alpha has feral empathy.
“They have this seemingly innate incredible amount of empathy to care for other, to want to know how others are feeling and then to take care of others, which I think is different from what we’ve been seeing in previous generations. They very much want to make sure other people around them are okay and they have this keen ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes,” Loray explains.
The therapist tells Upworthy that this feral empathy and their ability to not back down or care what others think is what causes them to stand up for people and engage in protests. Yes, Gen Alpha has been engaging in and helping to organize protests though the oldest kids in the cohort are between 9 and 11. You can thank their feral empathy and their Millennial parents for their early activism.
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Parents of Gen Alpha are not only being their kids’ rides to protests, but they’re teaching them to use their voice via gentle parenting.
“I think that comes along with the gentle parenting as well because they’re allowed space for us to model that for them and for them to be able to verbalize what they’re feeling and thinking. A lot of us Millennials, even if we weren’t necessarily trained in it (you know not just Millennials, it could be various generations in terms of parenting) but we’re seeing that we can much better understand them when they’re able to utilize those feeling words. It actually reducing their frustration, reduces their anger, it solves things quicker and I think us allowing for that space has been such a huge game changer,” Loray tells Upworthy.
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The mom also explains that the teaching of social and emotional learning in school is also a large contributing factor because it teaches kids how to express what they need on top of how they feel. She says these lessons at school help them relate to others and will help them later in life in relationships and at work.
Clearly the honey badger generation has won the hearts of older generations but they’ve also won the hearts of animals. Loray has several videos on her social media page that shows this strange pull that Gen Alpha seems to have with animals, local wild life included. She doesn’t really have an explanation to that but some would argue that animals can sense kindness in people, so maybe they’re just drawn to that in this still growing generation.
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There really is no telling why squirrels, ducks, snakes and other creatures are perfectly happy in the company of these human honey badgers, but it’s a pretty neat phenomenon. Loray thinks Gen Alpha will be the generation to rebuild systems in a way that would be beneficial to all citizens due to their feral empathy and innate moral compass. Only time will tell but they are certainly tiny and fierce, and we’re lucky to know them.