In the same way that we’ve had to forgive our parents for screwing us up, Millennials need to stop blaming Generation X for just about everything.
Or that’s what I used to think…, because I’ve not been averse in recent times to some millennial-bashing on this site; guilty of writing the odd scathing comment or two about this whining, entitled generation of our offspring from the personal experience of having two of them that STILL live at home.
But I’ve read a lot more about what motivates them lately and so I’ve decided to take a more balanced view. According to my daughter, they have been judged unfairly and do have some backbone with evidence of marrow. So I may have under-estimated them.
For example, their much-ridiculed desire to do the job THEY want, certainly emanated from us. Every generation wants the next generation to improve on what they did and ours is no exception. We Xers were the product of a shallow, capitalist era where we forfeited depth and sold our souls for material gain, so wisdom told us to advise them to choose carefully. With a greater understanding of what contributes to happiness now, the sharing of ideas and experiences, (thank you Internet), as well as the worrying increase in mental health issues, many of us are have very different views in middle age about what’s important in life, and a job that is fulfilling, (hence comes with limited stress), is a priority that is not to be mocked or ignored.
Equally, I can appreciate that some of the functions of the Internet ‘aint all that’, even though these kids can have no concept of the pain of researching from books. Conversely, they have to deal with cyber-bullying and seeing selfies of their friends in their underwear at breakfast time.
Then there is their so-called fear of hard work. Now I’m not certain whether it’s a culture thing here in Australia or a Millennial thing, but NC went out to work younger than I did and the expectation here is that you work your way through further education. I, on the other hand, received a grant from the government for university, which allowed me to earn my degree the old-fashioned way, by drinking lots of subsidised beer and then working during the holidays to pay off the shortfall.
However… this generation does seem to moan a lot more than we did, particularly for a generation whose life has been so revolutionised by technology. My two Millenials moaned for years about the trendy analogue clock I bought for the kitchen because it had no numbers and neither of them could read it. What I initially thought was an ADHD-related problem turned out to be a Millenial problem because many of them can only read digital.
So is life that much easier for them, really? Or are they just different to us? Or are we jealous of them, hence all those accusations targeted at them about how they have it easy? These are questions Scott Ness asks in his TED talk Who Are They And Why We Hate Millennials, the main gripe of our generation being the Millennials seeming entitlement of the extended holiday between dependence and independence while they find themselves.
NC gnashes her teeth with rage whenever I slyly forward her articles about the entitlement and laziness of her generation – typically as payback for all those bleats about poor WIFI, no food in the house, or the look of indignation when I mention that the dishwasher needs unloading or the dog needs walking.
Remember washing up chores, anyone?
And I’m always on their case about their phones, being the hated breed of overprotective parent that continues to worry about their social communication skills even thought they are adults, because (call me old-fashioned), but I refuse to believe that you can build solid foundations of a relationship via text, memes or emojis.
Which elicits responses such as this:
And reminds me about the uni/TAFE debts many of them are saddled with, (even though half of them probably shouldn’t even be at uni), and the impossibility of buying a property in such a crazy market bubble that has no sign of abating, which forces them to remain at home . Which isn’t much fun for any of us! And don’t get me started on the effect of text on their grammar…proven by the lack of full stop in the comment above, she says, starting a sentence with “and”.
I suppose we can’t really blame them for progress in technology because that has improved life for all of us – except for when they update…obviously. And who would we call to fix those tech problems if they weren’t savvy? At least in our day when we didn’t want to talk to anyone, we could unplug the phone and didn’t have to worry about being tracked down or stalked on social media.