Children are perhaps the greatest and the most wonderful gifts from God for most parents in the world. This has been so for ages, from time immemorial. Yet in this day and age, those little bundles of joy seem to have become the biggest puzzle and the greatest challenge that parents constantly grapple with, having very limited understanding of who they really are, what they want, and how they can be guided in the right direction. This is because while morphologically or anatomically our children, born of us the generation X or millennials, are simple human beings, they are, in reality, highly evolved, and substantially different in their hearts and minds from us.

This could be attributed to the astronomical advancements of technology and the different paradigms they are born in or the sociocultural evolution that our lives have been going through irrespective of our personal likes and dislikes for them. Hence here we are on this planet befuddled by a generational cohort born in the year 2000 and after, who question our parenting and teachings, and often throw us into dungeons of introspection and inadequacy, and leave us wondering if this is all about the age old ‘generation gap’ that we complained of our parents or is there something more to this ever widening gulf that seems to increase with every passing day between us and our offsprings. 

 And it is here that The Life of Z by award-winning author Dr Debashish Sengupta comes as a well-researched, insightful and consultative guidebook that hand-holds us through the basic chapters of understanding this unique generation, their worlds, perceptions, challenges, angst, crises. The book helps us realize how significant we as parents, mentors, educators and teachers are in gently guiding them to the beautiful destination that they are meant for. 

With his wide and in-depth research, Dr Sengupta presents a well-structured discourse that can be sub-divided into the following parts:

  1. Understanding of the age-group that constitutes “Generation Z” or the “Zeners”.
  2. Case studies of some Gen Z achievers, the astounding feats that some of them have achieved through proper nurturing, mentoring and parenting while demonstrating how the minds of the zeners work.
  3. Examination of the relevance and efficacies of existing conventions of education vis-à-vis the non-conventional paths like home schooling and self-learning; Questioning the need of different teaching methodologies for a more independent generation that loves to explore, experiment, experience and learn by themselves
  4. Understanding of the challenges and menaces posed by the Internet: cyber-bullying, unsupervised exposure to inappropriate content, Net addiction and health hazards
  5. Understanding sociocultural impacts, societal pressures and challenges that the Gen Z face and ways to support them
  6. Last but not the least, understanding the role of parents and importance of a happy and stable home environment: quantum of quality time spent with kids, leading by example, prioritizing children over digital distractions, empathizing and befriending them facilitating healthy communication and physical and spiritual growth

The book of about 300 pages is a beautiful example of a well-crafted handbook that oscillates between different carefully chosen fonts that separate case studies from the authorial interventions and interpretations which are well-supported by related researches and findings. 

The treatment of the delicate subject of rearing up a generation that constitutes about 2/3 of the world’s population and are the world-makers of tomorrow is beautiful. It is a journey into the world of a generation of the human race that is perhaps encountered with the greatest sociocultural challenges of the time and the greatest digital affluence in the history of mankind. It opens the reader’s mind to perceive the gravity of the situation and to understand the need of being there for them in the truest sense of the term. To establish the fine balance of ‘letting go’ and ‘letting grow’. It examines our conventional perceptions of education, parenting, teaching, success and provides an in-depth understanding of how the definitions of each of these have changed with time.  The book helps parents, educators, facilitators relook at what they thought they were doing best and realign themselves to the actual needs of this generation. With effective nurturing given to them , this generation can bring about stupendous positive changes to our world. 

The Life of Z is a book that bridges the gulf between the zeners and all the stakeholders in their journey. A compelling read for parents, it is perhaps the most effective consultative guide for parents, educationists, teachers, mentors and facilitators to fine-tune their roles in order to ensure that our children bloom to their fullest capacity and build a better and more sustainable world. 

With snippets of his personal life as a parent of a teenager, Dr Sengupta adds a new dimension of credibility to this eye-opening discourse that he propounds. We can safely say that he practices as he preaches.

Borrowing the words of the author, Dr Sengupta, may I say now, “I invite you on this roller-coaster journey, and I am sure that by the end of it you will know and see things very differently. Only then our zeners can be real winners’.

About the Reviewer 

Vaijayantee Bhattacharya is an entrepreneur, author, poet, editor and PR professional. She is the author of her anthology of poems, Mosaic Vision

She has several years of experience in the print, publishing and PR industry both in India and Bahrain. She is also the Founder & CEO of a Bahrain-based company called CreaTree Services that provides PR, Marketing, Advertising and Events Management services.