This is not the finest moment for 20-30 somethings. The post election meltdown is the butt of many jokes. The entitlement being expressed and resulting cries of “no fair” are front-page news and the fodder of smirks across Middle American breakfast tables. “Dump Trump” tattoos are a sure bet for investment opportunities.
As a boomer, I have expressed more than my share of my disrespect of the generation that is emerging. My comments have not been as kind as they could and should have been. Interestingly, most of my millennial family and friends do not defend their generation; they laugh along with me and own up to their shortcomings.
But I’m a bit troubled by and defensive of the generalizations and broad-sweeping disrespect for those born between 1980 and 2000.
Just possibly, we (boomers) have our part of the blame They are what we raised them to be. Some of us were helicopter parents. Some of us would never allow our kids to feel pain. My 30 year old friend said this week, “We never stuck out in t-ball. We were not allowed to lose.” Participation trophies have become the joke de jour. This may be funny but it is not helping the situation. Possibly we have enabled their dysfunction.
Possibly we are compensating for our own failures. The world that the Millennials are inheriting from their parents is not in great shape. I have always found the best way to cover my mistakes is to blame someone else. We broke it – maybe we should fix it before we rip the next generation for not fixing it.
We followed “the Greatest Generation.” We may have an inferiority complex. I know some emotional bullies that, in order to make themselves look better, insult others. Hey boomers, our parents were the greatest generation, and our kids are smarter than we are. Let’s own it and stop blaming others.
One of my favorite joke/stories: Dad says to his lazy teenage son, “Do you know what Abe Lincoln was doing when he was your age?” Son says, “No, but I know what he was doing when he was your age!”
Maybe we should get our stuff together to serve as a model for those who are coming in our footsteps.
Some positives about the Millennials I know:
They are passionate. They have a lot of drive for issues that concern them.
They value authenticity. Fake won’t fly.
They are risk takers. They have few qualms about leaving the safety of home to do some awesome things – things I wouldn’t have done.
They live simpler lives. They don’t seem to need the gadgets as much as we do. (unless the gadgets include smart phones and Xbox).
They will decide what nursing homes we will live it. Be nice to them.
Seriously, I love these guys. Let’s give them a break.