The
Inspiration
Project

WITH BRENDAN CORR

GUEST Mark McCrindle

Episode 23

Mark McCrindle: Episode Summary

  • What led Mark into the field of social research
  • The intersection of Christian faith and psychology
  • Christian Schools and Culture & responding to claims of keeping Mark from the truth.
  • Why Mark decided to write several books for Gen Z, Gen Y, and Millennials that focus on demarcations.
  • Should faith be changing from generation to generation?
  • How do we make sense of the countercultural call of faith?

Mark McCrindle: Episode Transcript

Sponsor Announcement This podcast is sponsored by Australian Christian College, a network of schools committed to student wellbeing, character development, and academic improvement.

Introduction Welcome to The Inspiration Project, where well-known Christians share their stories to inspire young people in their faith and life. Here’s your host, Brendan Corr.

Brendan Corr Well hi there everybody, welcome to another episode of The Inspiration Project podcast. Delighted to have Mark McCrindle join us for a conversation this morning. Mark is the Chief Director of McCrindle Research, founded that company 15 years ago after having done some studies in some social sciences through his university. McCrindle Research has become an award-winning social research company. Mark is a best-selling author, he’s often invited to give comment on strategy and tactics to boards, executives, and even the Government. Regularly featured on some of the television shows where we’re trying to analyse and understand exactly what’s going on with our society and our world around us.

Brendan Corr
Mark McCrindle, thank you for coming and giving us your time.

Mark McCrindle
It’s a pleasure to be with you, thank you.

Brendan Corr
So, Mark, social research is not something that necessarily might be in the minds of every high school student. What was it that led you to this particular area of interest that’s become a business for you?

Mark McCrindle
I always had an interest in people, not just individuals and how people make decisions, how their context shapes them or attitudes play out in decisions and pathways, but how groups of people interact, how communities make decisions and think. And so that was the genesis for me of moving into the field of social research. I, like many young people, went off to study psychology and I found that an excellent foundation. Understanding those behavioural patterns of people, but moved on to more the sociology area after that for the Masters and now work in this field of social research which is different to market research, where you might look at how to market to people. Social research is understanding decisions and preferences and attitudes and behaviours of groups and of society but I’m more around therefore how organisations can better lead or employ or meet the needs of or communicate with the communities around them.

Brendan Corr
So psychology, first step into the world of how people think, or what is sort of thinking and then into social group sort of thinking. I know we’ll get to ask a little bit about your faith background in a moment, I know you’re a person of very strong, grounded faith. Sometimes there is a suspicion of people from a Christian faith background that psychology isn’t a good fit. Did you experience any of that? Any of that sort of concern or advice that might have come to you?

Mark McCrindle
I sure did and that spot-on describes my circumstances. I’ve grown up in a fairly conservative church and when I got talking to people, particularly some of the older people, about my plans as I was completing year 12 I said, “Well I plan on studying a psychology degree at university,” I certainly got a few strange looks. Because there is a perception of a lot of the behavioural sciences that they have a philosophy that might be counter to the Christian worldview and that’s probably true of any discipline that you can study. But nonetheless, I found my four years studying psychology to be excellent and definitely there were as a basic assumption, there are worldviews that are quite contrary to a Christian understanding. But that’s healthy and helpful for us as Christians as we venture into our disciplines, our pathway in life, to understand the breadth of the views out there and to hopefully have a faith that will not waiver amidst those different views. Being exposed to those different perspectives is excellent as we make our way into a very diverse world. I found that some of the basic assumptions on which the whole psychological therapies were based didn’t align with my perspective on how someone can be helped and ultimately practising psychology clinically wasn’t the pathway for me. But the training and the background was excellent and certainly equipped me well for the next step into understanding and practising social research.

Brendan Corr
I don’t want to put words in your mouth and misunderstand what you’re describing, but there were elements of your comments there that were a little bit like I want to be familiar with the different views of the world and found that they weren’t directly in conflict with your Christian thinking, was there any way where you found actually your Christian thinking was enriched and deepened by your study of psychology? Do you understand what I’m saying, it’s not combative but - off you go Mark?

Mark McCrindle
Well that’s right and I think that’s the attitude that we need to bring. All students will find particularly as they move from a Christian schooling environment to a mainstream university, they will find that they have stepped into a perspective, they will consistently hear worldviews that are, not only very different to what they’ve been shaped in, but quite hostile to that Christian worldview. And I experienced that as well. However, it is a blessing because it does help us really assess our perspectives and therefore work out how we can, with grace and in relational contexts, are the salt and light in our community. Give an answer for the hope that we have but doing it with gentleness and respect. And that can’t happen forever purely within a Christian educational context, you got to step out, I think to have that worldview well-forged into the broader society and universities are great places for that. I also found that so many of my colleagues that had chosen psychology as their profession, as their direction, were motivated to help others. They had a good motivation for that and they didn’t share the same philosophical underpinnings but they were motivated to make a difference in the world and Christians all over will champion that attitude.

Brendan Corr
So clearly it sounds like you were a young person who was confidently able to plot your own path. Whether it was to stand resolute with the advice from your Christian mentors and elders about maybe the step that you were taking into the realm of psychology might not have been helpful, and you could plot a path your own, and when you’re at university, influence the other way of non-Christian worldviews and lecturers and professors who might have been wanting you to think differently, you were able to keep true to your sense of what God was doing in your life. That has been an attribute that you’ve always had? Have you acquired that? Where do you attribute your strength of self?

Mark McCrindle
Well, that’s right and I think what is key is one’s own personal walk with God. It’s our own faith and definitely we can get the support, the encouragement, the collegiality from Christian groups on campus and I would recommend young people get involved in those Christian groups and have an impact while they’re there in those university years. And of course, we maintain hopefully our connections with our church and youth ministries and serving our churches through programs, all of that will be key. But it is our own walk with the Lord that is essential as we move from more protective environments of schooling and the family unit into charting our own pathway as we move through those formative, independent, developing years and that’s both aspects. The social supports as well as that individual journey I found key as I made my way through the university pathway.

Brendan Corr
You mentioned the importance of a personal walk. Would you be willing to share with us what was your experience of finding a personal relationship with the Lord?

Mark McCrindle
Yes, well it comes back to our focus abiding in Christ, is that biblical term. That it’s a relationship, it’s a relationship that we develop through talking to the Lord through prayer, through reading his word and having that shape us. And certainly there are great Christian books that will assist and study guides and the like, but ultimately it does come to that faith journey where we walk and pray with our Lord and study his Word for guidance and you’re right, I found myself no real wavering despite the strength of opinions that were put before me from very scholarly lecturers, from professors who were quite strident in their pushback against things of faith or religion. I didn’t find any wavering myself because Christ is in my life and I walk with the Lord and so when you have a lived experience, when you have a daily walk then your faith is not up for grabs. And I did find that those forging years through university very helpful. I was part of the Army Reserve in that time as well and that can be another harsh environment, but often in those times where we face a bit of opposition, it actually strengthens our faith and our resolve and that can be a very healthy and formative experience.

Brendan Corr
So for you, you mentioned you grew up in a Christian school, you went to a strong Christian church, your family were strong believers, when did you develop a sense that it wasn’t just the people you were mixing with. That this was your relationship. God was talking to you, not just talking generally.

Mark McCrindle
I knew at a pretty young age that I had to make my own decisions about what I believed and who I was living for and what I thought of these messages that I heard from the Bible since I was a youngster. And so this is often said, God doesn’t have grandchildren, we’re either His children or we’re not, we have to make our own decisions, we don’t inherit the faith through parents or through long lineage and I was blessed to have parents and grandparents and beyond that who had walked with the Lord as well. So I made my own decision as a young man and knew that while parents would offer support, while others would offer encouragement, it was one’s own decisions and values that were key. And I saw in that time, as so many young people do, friends that you go to youth group with, people that you had Bible studies with, or sat beside in the Christian classes at a school, didn’t go on with their faith and at some point put that down and headed off into another direction. All that is very sad but it’s the reality of life and I just knew that I needed to make sure that I was not going to deny what I knew was the reality from what I lived and experienced from a very young age.

Brendan Corr
That’s good. So you talked about the protective environment of the school and of family and of the church, and how that scaffolded your capacity to engage in some broader thinking at university, there would be some, and maybe those very friends of yours who took another path, would’ve seen that as not a protective environment but as a little Christian bubble that was keeping you from the truth. How do you respond to those sorts of views?

Mark McCrindle
That’s a real perspective that people bring. I’ve been doing a little bit of gardening with my children recently and we’ve planted some seeds, we’ve been watching these seeds become seedlings, become the little green shoots that eventually will become vegetables and small bushes. And what we’ve seen in that experience is that you actually need to nurture those seedlings. They take a little bit of care, you can’t just scatter the seeds in the broad garden and think you’re going to end up with something. Once you see the seedling there and it’s starting to grow, then it’s got its strength to be planted in the bigger garden. And it’s like that as we develop, as individuals. I am a raving fan of Christian education because when we’re young, the support of that Christian school, the fact that the bias of the school, the general culture of the school is towards aligning or championing one’s faith and that it supports and aligns with the parental values that are shared with the children is such an important thing. Now as children get older, as they develop their own strength and their own faith, then, by all means, they’re ready to head out into the broader world like, we’ll take those seedlings and put them in the garden. But not when they’re young because it’s unlikely that that’s going to be a healthy outcome. So that’s been my experience of Christian education. It supports, it nurtures, it upholds and it helps align those worldviews rather than offering confusion where the home values are very different to the classroom values. And I also find that Christian schools are not bubbles, not my experience of them. They’re not like the drawbridge experience, quickly pull up the bridge, don’t let any outsiders in here. They’re actually lighthouses, where they say this is what we believe and we have been equipped with a hope and a foundation and with these values not to feel good about ourselves or to shut others out but the opposite, to go out and serve and support and help and be lights where there’s even more need for that. And that’s what Christian schools are these days and they are difference makers in their communities at large.

Brendan Corr
Yeah, that’s good. Mark, we’ve been talking a bit about the place of individual conviction, individual understanding, you moved from a psychology that was focused on an individual’s way of perceiving and responding to a more demographic view, sociology. And looking at the collective way of being that can be observed and described. You’ve written a few books that we’re looking at the way in which there can be demarcations in approaches or assumptions that groups will bring, are they real things? Are those Gen Y, Gen X, Gen Z, Millennials, are they real? Or are they just stories that guys like you can whip up around bits of data?

Mark McCrindle
Yeah, great question. Well there’s a very well-known psychologist, who was a great American psychologist called Carl Rogers and he had a saying, he said: “What’s most personal is most universal.” And it’s an interesting point to ponder, that the yearnings of the heart, the individual hopes and dreams, the uncertainties that we carry, the insecurities, are actually replicated across others within our community or more broadly. That is to say that there are great similarities across individuals to groups, societies, and communities, and that’s what we look at in social research. We recognise that people are who they are based on their life stage. And that’s where the generations come in. People in their teenage years have different interests and time priorities and they’re just at a different point in life than people in their 60’s. It’s just self-evident. The times that we’re shaped in a different, those that came of age in the 1960s, that was a different era than the 1980s and that’s different to this very fast-changing era of today in the 2020s. And so it is with the technologies that we experience, with the events, the broader experiences that leave fingerprints on us that society goes through. Whether it be World War 2, whether it be in a more recent time, this COVID-19 situation. Such experiences impact the generations who live through them, particularly those in their formative years. And all of that is just to highlight that we are who we are through our age, through our events or experiences or culture. There’s an old saying in social analysis that people resemble their times more than they resemble their parents. And in so many ways we are the product of our times. Now some just become a product of the times and unconsciously others just observe the times and so they’re cautious and they will deliberately push back against that so that they don’t just become absorbed into the digital screen era of today. But nonetheless, the times that we live through leave fingerprints on us. And so by analysing the culture, the times, the events, the generations, the life stages, and even socioeconomics and segments and other definers, psychographics and the like, we can understand groups within a society, we can understand communities and therefore we can understand how to best meet their needs or communicate with them or best manage or lead them and that’s the realm of a social researcher.

Brendan Corr
So trying to bring those two things together, you’re fundamental understanding of individual psychology and then the dynamics of a group identity and the role of culture, how do you understand the interplay between those things? How much of me is actually me and how much of it is my age, my stage, my culture that I’ve learned in? Where do you find a sense of self in that?

Mark McCrindle
Yeah, that’s a great question and a particular conundrum where people can sometimes take things too far and think that actually every generation is completely creating their own experience or needs, little realising that actually a lot of what makes us who we are, are timeless realities and don’t change even though the context does. And we know this biblically, that the yearnings of the heart, the desire for security, the fact that we look for things beyond the temporal, that eternity is on the hearts of people, that we have a sense, a yearning and a knowledge that there is something greater than just us. The transcendence. These are timeless values you will find amongst tribespeople from the most remote villages to the biggest cities, you’ll find in our time and you’ll find in the ancient times. It’s timeless. So we need to identify what those timeless human drivers and needs are, what the contemporary trend-driven ones are, and bring some nuance to that. And to further your point, we need to understand that yes there are unique generational realities, the language that is spoken, the use of technology. Generation Z is quite different to how us Gen X’s use technology or interact. Even though we might all use the same technology. They will use it more intuitively, it’s more a part of their life, and for me, I’ll use it productively or transactionally. I’ll pick it up as a tool, I’ll utilise it and I’ll put it back down. It’s quite a different approach. So there are some uniquenesses across the generations, they are distinct cohorts. And yet we also need to remember that we share more in common as humans across the generations, there might be those uniquenesses within a generation. And all of that is important as well. So that’s the art of the nuance, that’s the conundrums and I guess you would say that the delineation age and that social or behavioural scientist brings to these equations, they don’t overstate the power of a group or the distinction of a cohort, but nor do they think that times are unchanged and we are who we are, we’ll always be the same because we do express or live those values, views and perspectives differently era by era.

Brendan Corr
And that’s very good, very helpful. Let me ask you this, you’re a man of faith, you’ve grounded in a, as you just said, a strong heritage, you’re involved in research that’s looking at the way thinking changes and the way society changes, is Christianity commissioned to respond to those changes? Should faith be changing generation by generation?

Mark McCrindle
I like Paul’s view on this, the Apostle Paul, when he writes in Colossians to the church there, he asks them to pray for him and he asks for two things in his prayer. He says ”pray that God will open a door for this message, this good news message I have.” So God is sovereign to open the doors. But he asks for a second prayer, “and pray that I may proclaim it clearly as I should.” So there’s both divine sovereignty and human responsibility. There’s God’s role to provide the open doors and there’s our role to be clear in our communications and take full advantage of those opportunities that God provides. And that’s what I would say is the case for Christianity and the case for the church. That God is sovereign, it’s Christ’s church, we’re not creating it or inventing it, we’re not changing the message, we are mere messengers. However, each of us in our era has a responsibility to communicate that message in effective ways for our community, our times and our culture. And we ought not to preach or minister the way Paul did as a Middle Easterner in the first century when we’re in the West in the 21st. And I think that’s self-evident, therefore we do have to understand our times, we do have to have a key perspective on our audiences or in our communities so we can effectively be those messengers, be those translators of an unchanging message and ministry in changing times. If you look at Paul he was an innovator, he was an entrepreneur from a ministry perspective. He used the latest technology of the Roman roads and used transport to see his letters and his Epistles spread. We saw him use a common of Greek, pre-Greek which was opening up the world, connecting the world in a connection form. And he used that language very well. And if he was in our day he would be using the modern technologies of the internet or maybe social media or maybe Zoom calls or podcasts like this, to great effect, because the message is sacred but the methods are changeable, are temporal and we need to be pragmatic in terms of utilising effectiveness even though we do not change the core of what we’re about.

Brendan Corr
Along those similar lines, there’s often, well at least in my experience, there’s been a call for the church to be counter-cultural. For us to be ostensibly different. How do you reconcile that notion and is it always the call for a Christian subculture, Gen X, Gen Y, Millennials, Baby Boomers, should we be different in the same way? Should we be different in different ways? How do we make sense of that counter-culture call of faith?

Mark McCrindle
That’s a great point and Christians have consistently, not just been counter-cultural for the sake of it, but lived a life that was innovative, that was different to just the mail leu of the broader context, such that people said, “wow, I want something of that,” or “you’ve got a hope that I don’t have,” or ” you’ve got a calm amidst the chaos of my life,” or “you’ve got a sense of peace that you project while I’m feeling volatility and uncertainty.” That’s something of how we live, so we’re counter-cultural by the nature of our worldview, the call of Christ and of how we behave. I don’t think we need to add extra counter-cultural elements like, well let’s sing in a different way through our society, or let’s maybe throw off the technology that everyone else is using and let’s go back to some older form. That sort of deliberative counter-cultural approach is unhelpful. I mean, look at Paul, again the Apostle in Athens. When he was stranded there for a few weeks basically three, and he started in his appeal to his community around him by looking at where they were at. By connecting common points. You’re very religious people, I see wandering around, I saw an altar even to an unknown god and he actually works to connect with his community rather than to find those points of difference. Now, this point of difference comes through because he’s not about unknown gods, he wants to declare the known God and make that clear. But he starts at the common point and brings the community along with him on the journey rather than pointing out the difference and highlighting that.

Brendan Corr
Social science is a descriptive endeavour. You’re involved in looking at data and analysing it and presenting it in ways that make sense of that data and ostensibly objective analysis. Faith is something that’s a little more prescriptive. It’s establishing priorities and preferred modes of being. Do you find any difficulty in teasing out those parts of your identity? Your work being purely descriptive, your faith being something that recommends a preferred way of seeing the world?

Mark McCrindle
That’s a great way of putting it and there are some differences there. But ultimately science, whether it be behavioural science, which is the field I’m in, whether it be an experimental science, it’s about uncovering the truth. It’s built on facts, it wants to deal in realities. And as Christians, we’re about truth. We are hyper-realists when it comes to the truth. And so that is a great starting point for Christians, I think, in the world of the behavioural science. We want to uncover the realities of what’s taking place, we want to find out about this cohort and how we can best engage with them. It is a search for truth and for reality and it is conducted this empirical analysis, or it might even be a qualitative analysis because we have discussions, we have focus groups or in-depth interviews to try to find out where someone is at or what their feeling, it’s still trying to uncover the reality. But it’s done from a sense of empathy, a sense of connection, a sense of humanity. So we’re not separated from our subjects, we are one with our community. And I think Christians bring that good perspective as well. We want to understand people, we want to understand and so bring about flourishing in our communities and that’s the realm of the sociologist. They want to uncover the truth but they want to uncover that so that they can create flourishing, so that they can create thriving. So that the communities in which they are planted will bring about some better outcomes. So it’s science but it’s not purely empirical, it’s got an agenda. It’s got a transformative, visional perspective to make their community a better place and I think Christians are well poised to be those behavioural scientists in our world.

Brendan Corr
What I’m hearing in that Mark is your analysis of a societal set of attributes and the discovery of what actually is, isn’t necessarily endorsing that’s the way it should be. You’re recognising the fact that what is, is a fact, but we might want to do something to improve or to change or to support, strengthen.

Mark McCrindle
Yeah, exactly.

Brendan Corr
Yeah, that’s good.

Mark McCrindle
There’ll be times where the Christian behavioural scientist, the Christian sociologist, the psychologist or anthropologist will look at a culture, an element in the culture and champion that. We’re seeing that at the moment with viral kindness or hashtag scaremongering. Some of these responses to these dark days amidst COVID we’re seeing our community get out there and give a call to someone, the neighbour who might be isolated, who is buying extra items or paying for the odd person’s groceries out there. We’re seeing this sort of mindset in our community as people look out for others and I think that’s an element of our society where a Christian will champion that and celebrate that. And there’s other practises or elements in our society where we won’t endorse it or embrace it, we might want to redeem that element of culture. Christians have a habit of being reactionary, maybe we see something dark through the use of a particular technology, say social media, and we’ll say, “what?” We should separate ourselves from that and perhaps a good few years ago there were a lot of pastors or leaders saying “Facebook’s not helpful, you should get away from that.” Well here we are in 2020 realising and seeing all the churches using Facebook Live for their church services and we say actually, no it’s a good thing. So that’s an example of where Christians can redeem the culture rather than dismiss the culture and they said the same about the printing press 400 years ago as well. “I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or bad thing, some of the stuff getting printed.” Well, we’re probably not decrying the printing press even though we might not love everything that’s printed because we see that it’s a great technology and it is up for Christians to be discerning and to redeem the culture sometimes, to celebrate the culture in other times. But nonetheless to create in their redemptive mindset that we have in Christ, create a better society than the one that we first saw.

Brendan Corr
With that notion of the role, or the potential role, of Christians to be part of redeeming society, do you see that as the opportunity to do that more generally in society, or within the confines of the church, the expressions of the church? For example, is it right for Christians to enter Parliament, become the lawmakers to try and express that redemption of society or that structuring of society in a way that reflects something better?

Mark McCrindle
Such an important issue for particularly young Christians to think through. And it took me a while, I was sort of swayed on my journey a fair while in this regard. And this was the transformation I needed in my journey. I was raised again in a conservative church and my perspective was, from what I saw around me, that there was an A-Team of Christians and they were those who went to Bible college, became pastors or ministers or missionaries, they were on the front line and that’s who God is working in. And then there’s the B Team. Those of who maybe we don’t feel a calling here or there and we end up getting jobs as teachers or nurses or social researchers and we fund the A-Team to do that great ministry. And that is a terrible mindset to have and if we have led young people to think that there is a separation of the sacred in the sector then we have done a job poorly as Christians. We are called all of us to be ministers. The Reformation made that clear and it wasn’t the abolition of the clergy, it was the abolition of validity that’s what it was really all about. We’re all ministers for Christ, it’s the priesthood of all believers. And some of those priests or ministers might be pastors or missionaries and other priests or ministers, Christians, are working in supermarkets or house cleaners, whatever it may be. But we are all called to serve God. It’s all ministry unto Him. And it took me a while on my journey to recognise that, I thought that I wanted to get into the A-Team missional work and go to Bible college but those doors never opened for me and I only realised that God had called me to be missional in my vocation. That it was as a social researcher, and as I look back now, I see wow, God has opened doors for me to be a witness for Himself, to share the truth and to be if you like a pastor to the community, which I would never have got if my title was a pastor or minister or missionary. In other words, God has a greater plan and if we look through the Bible we occasionally see a missionary or a pastor, but most of those people are working in Government as cupbearers or maybe they’re shepherds or fisherman or carpenters or any other of those many vocations there, as we have today and we’re all on the A-Team serving God’s mission and we need to understand that and that’s the great diversity that God has in His kingdom. He equips us and calls us with so many different skills. And whether that be in Government or politics, whether it be in business or entrepreneurialism, whether it be in technology or caring professions or whether it be in that vocational professional ministry to all of God and for God and that’s what we as Christians really need to make sure we make clear.

Brendan Corr
Amen, Mark. One last observation before we let you get about the rest of your day, you mentioned that each generation is affected by the events of their times. We’re recording this podcast in the middle of some of the strictest lockdowns because of the COVID-19 scenario, do you have any suspicions or projections as to what the impact of this event across the generational sectors might mean? Is there a sense that it is a watershed moment?

Mark McCrindle
It sure is and as we look at the impact of it, it’s the overtaking impact of previous recessions and issues like the global financial crisis, the impacts are greater already and we’re still in the early throws of it, but already greater than 9/11-type circumstance. It’s getting up there with some of the ramifications of the World Wars, such as the global nature of it and the economic impacts are up there with not just recessions but depressions. So these are watershed times. As has been said, the biggest crisis in a century, the most global crisis ever in terms of the billions involved because of the size of our population globally and the connections that we have. So an absolutely transformative event. And it will leave impacts on the younger generations even more than the rest of us and it’s transforming things. Now yes, yeah we’re looking at some of the challenges and the volatility and obviously the health crisis but with that the economic crisis. Rising unemployment, insecurity there, falling values of stock markets and housing markets. All big impacts and all impacting all of us in personal ways. But there are a lot of positives that are coming through as well and we will see a lot of changes that won’t just bounce back once this health crisis passes, and of course it will pass. Whether it be six months, whether it be 12, whether it lingers for 18 months, it will pass. And they are things like the embracing of online learning. And we’ve had the technologies for a while, we’ve had the platforms for a while, we’ve just never quite had the will to do it or the need to do it and this has forced us into it. And it will transform learning ongoing. And not just this emergency response to teaching, that we can’t go to our classrooms, let’s do our teaching but we’ll do it online. I’m talking online learning, I’m talking remote learning, I’m talking about transforming how we learn ongoing and not just with school but tertiary. It’s changing how we work and we’ve all been forced into this remote working environment. And it’s working reasonably well for a lot of the knowledge economy. Now that’s going to become more normative into the future. Yes, we will gather once more in offices because again as humans we need that collegiality, we’re social beings and that community is important. That physical community. But there’ll be not quite the same need for it as we had prior to this and certainly there’ll be a lot more teleworking or remote working than we saw prior. We will see people get back to a bit more of a financial conservatism that we saw in our grandparents who knew tougher times because they heard stories of the depression or maybe they were shaped in the wars after, the years after the war and so they valued savings, that being aware of what discretionary spend is and is not, being more prudent with our expenses. Recognising that things go up in value but they can also drop in value. Valuing a job and not thinking that, “well I’m just going to keep flipping across jobs until I find the one that I’m really loving.” Some of those traditional values that we saw in prior generations will come back very keenly after this and I think there are some great positives to all of that.

Brendan Corr
Yeah, in lots of ways that’s telling the story isn’t it, of what those traditional values were grounded in past experience and understanding why some of our predecessors held those values, can help us craft a way out of where we happen to be right now.

Mark McCrindle
Totally, totally right and that’s where the value of our grandparents, of the elders in our society, is so key. We just ran some research on COVID-19 just in the last week and we looked at how resilient Australians are feeling and we compared that across the generations. And as we might expect, the older generations are feeling less resilient from a health perspective. They’re more aware of how this virus impacts them and they’re less resilient from a financial perspective because they rely on that superannuation savings. They don’t have the same years of capacity to increase the earnings as young people have. But they were the most resilient emotionally, from a mental health perspective. Compared to young people who are really feeling anxious at these times and feeling uncertain about their future. The older generations, they’ve been around the block a few more times, they can put something like this into perspective and they can say to us this too will pass. Keep the important things important, keep loving your family, keep focusing on those timeless realities of your life and the rhythms of life, get by as much as you can, this won’t be permanent and they are well-placed to be resilient emotionally and to help the rest of us keep things in perspective as well and that’s just a little example of how generational differences play out because of our lived experience.

Brendan Corr
A nice way to finish our conversation, Mark, to remind us that while generations come and go and change, there are elements of our humanity that we carry with us. And they’re resilient to the things, the circumstances of life. Thank you for sharing your story, thank you for sharing your insights, thank you for the work that you do in our community and for the way in which you are continuing to be available for God to do his work through you and through your work and through your company. Appreciate your time.

Mark McCrindle
Delighted to be here, thanks for the inspiration that this project offers and thanks to all the listeners.

Brendan Corr
God bless you, Mark.

About Mark McCrindle

Mark is the Chief Director of McCrindle Research, founded that company 15 years ago after having done some studies in some social sciences through his university. McCrindle Research has become an award-winning social research company. Mark is a best-selling author, he's often invited to give comment on strategy and tactics to boards, executives, and even the Government. Regularly featured on some of the television shows where we're trying to analyse and understand exactly what's going on with our society and our world around us.

Photo of Brendan Corr

About Brendan Corr

Originally a Secondary Science Teacher, Brendan is a graduate of UTS, Deakin and Regent College, Canada. While Deputy Principal at Pacific Hills for 12 years, Brendan also led the NSW Christian Schools Australia registration system. Brendan’s faith is grounded in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and a deep knowledge of God’s Word. Married for over 30 years, Brendan and Kim have 4 adult children. On the weekends, Brendan enjoys cycling (but he enjoys coffee with his mates afterwards slightly more).