Millennials are always shunned by a large slice of the public for many reasons. We’re too entitled, we complain a lot, we need safe spaces, and we’re offended easily. As much as I could spend hours talking about how I feel about these, I think I should focus on a specific complaint I’ve been hearing about millennials lately that just doesn’t make any sense to me.
I played elementary soccer as long as I could. I loved playing fullback. I knew how to move on defense and I had quite the kick compared to the rest of the team. I remember tons of great moments from those days, but I mostly think about the last game of the season, which was usually followed by a pizza party and, to millennial-critics’ disdain, participation trophies.
My school didn’t go as far as trophies because I just don’t think that was in the budget. We got small plastic medals that I usually lost within the first month of having them. It doesn’t really matter. According to many people who are disgruntled with the millennial generation, the reason we are so entitled is because of participation medals/trophies/certificates.
The argument is that these participation awards make children feel as if they are special, even if they didn’t contribute much to the team; no matter how bad you are at kicking a ball, you get an award for it. Now, as someone, a millennial, who has received many of these awards throughout elementary and high school, I can assure you that this argument is ridiculous.
First off, don’t criticize the millennial generation for having participation trophies. It wasn’t us who came up with the idea, it was the generation before us! Simply stating that we are entitled because we have participation trophies implies that we were the ones to create them. As I said, I have received a lot of them, but did I actually care about them? No.
Most times I’d lose or throw out whatever I received for participating. The only awards I have saved throughout my early years are the ones that I actually earned, such as highest-GPA certificates and scholarship awards from different universities. These awards matter to me because I had to try for them. The participation awards were a nice gesture by our parents, coaches, and teachers, but did I frame these awards? No, I didn’t, because they just weren’t that important to me.
I also love how this argument chops up all of our “entitledness” to a trophy. A trophy. Are you kidding me? There are so many other things you could criticize us for, but you choose trophies? They were small little artifacts that we had no control over. I just don’t get it.
Perhaps we are entitled. The millennial generation does support a large amount of the entitlement policies in our country today. We championed Bernie Sanders, the presidential candidate that wanted to provide Medicare-for-all, a huge entitlement program. These are things you can criticize us for because these are actually debatable. Instead of bashing us for trophies, why don’t you make a good argument as to why our entitled minds have no idea what entitlements will do to the country? Make a good argument as to why you believe we are the worst generation out there.
Just a quick sidebar. Perhaps you shouldn’t criticize the millennial generation. Of course you have freedom of speech (like Colin Kaepernick) and are free to say what you will about us. But, newsflash for you, we are the future leaders of this country. We are going to change what this country looks like in 20-30 years. Instead of working against us and criticizing us for being a bunch of bubble-wrapped babies who are instantly offended, why don’t you work with us? We should all be working together to find a way to make this country a better place, yet a significant amount of the public hates us. This nation is not just divided by race, gender, sexual orientation, class, and ability. We are also divided by generation, which is never going to help us in the long run.