Frankenstein, YouTube, and the Millennials

Posted on Dec 2, 2016

In 2015, Southland Christian Church, where I am a member, made a video of the Christmas story as told by children. Recently, the video has gone viral and has even grabbed the attention of NBC’s Today Show. In three minutes, a group of children share the appearance of the angel to Mary while she was doing laundry, the travel of Mary and Joseph to Bethle-ha-ha-ham, and that the wise men brought gifts of gold, Frankenstein, and myrrh.

No need to get out your Bible to fact check this version of the story. I don’t think that some of the events happened like they say they did. But be assured that the core of the story is still accurate.

Often when a story is told over time, it gets modified by each generation that shares it. While minor details may get updated, the heart of the story remains intact. In agriculture, we have to continually share a story that reflects the values of our industry, while engaging the next generation. One day young people will have to step up and carry the torch of advocacy that has been passed on for generations.

When the next generation shares the story of agriculture, it will sound a little different. The story will reflect what they have experienced, what they have been taught, and how they feel. Consider that most freshmen in high school were born after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. YouTube reaches more 18-34 year olds than any cable network. The Millennial Generation is one of the most service-minded generations in history, with 81% donating money, food, or clothing. It is our job to make sure the next generation understands our industry so they can continue the work.

Farm Bureau has made youth development a priority. The Outstanding Youth Contest and IFAL are mechanisms by which our young people can become the next set leaders to feed and clothe the world. Talk to anyone that has been involved in either of these events, and they will tell you about its impact. Additionally, Farm Bureau supports programs like FFA, 4-H, and FCCLA in their efforts to help young people succeed in all endeavors. Great organizations welcome to opportunity to invest in people, because that is the only way to change the world.  

The next generation is going to tell a great story about agriculture. It will certainly be different from the one you heard. It will be told using mediums that may not even exist today. It will be a global message to end hunger. But it will still hold true to the values of the farmer and to the needs of the consumer.

Have you shared your story about agriculture? Do people know how it impacted your life? When was the last time you took the time to talk with a young person about how agriculture has changed? If you don’t tell your story, then the next generation can’t tell their story. They must know of your experiences to appreciate and advance agriculture.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter the words of the story or the way in which it is presented. What matters is that it is heartfelt and true to the message. In the Southland Christmas video there are plenty of moments that will make you laugh out loud (or LOL as the kids say these days) because of the slightly incorrect interpretations. But it is the last line that proves that the point of the story is not lost on them – “The new baby is going to change the world.”

Merry Christmas!