First, let me thank you for clicking into this article. Because you probably read the title and rolled your eyes, all set to fly into a righteous rage or be convicted of the beliefs you already hold. But listen, people. There are so many articles out about millennials, our obsession with selfies, our constant addiction to our phones, and how we're ruining America with our "agendas". And just as many coming against those articles, saying that we are individuals, that we are just fighting like no other generation before has. But you know the real difference between millennials and previous generations? Pull up close, friends, let me whisper it in your ear. You never know who might be listening.
Alright, are you ready? Here we go:
Oops. Did I hurt your feelings? I know I hurt mine. And I know that there are differences. But the truth is, they're not these huge, cavernous differences that either generation would have you believe. Don't trust me? Let me introduce you to my good friend Socrates.
"The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise."
This sounds really familiar, doesn't it? Scary familiar. Like "The Pope just said our generation doesn't understand the sanctity of marriage" familiar.
We say this generation is the one that does not understand the sanctity of marriage, the one which is destroying union and sexuality. But how can we forget the Greeks, with their blatant eroticism, pedophilia, and opulent excess?(Warning: Nude painting and sexual topics discussed.)
There are a lot of other examples, like the brutality of the Romans, the "sexual revolutions" of the 1960s-70s, or even the covered rebellion in the back alleys and wayward houses of the 19th century. But I'm not here to hurl evidence at you.
And I'm not saying that just because previous generations struggled with sin we can discount the selfishness of our own generation. I'm simply pointing out: Yes, we, the Generation Y, can be selfish. We can be stupid, and we can be unwise. We can be self-centered. And that is not because we are different, or have somehow changed to become worse. It is because we are young and we are learning. Just like you had to at one point, older reader. Everyone has been stupid and selfish at some point in their life. And it seems that the generations above always believe that the one below them is going to plunge the world into everlasting darkness.
But that begs the question: Why is there such an outcry against my generation? Why is the finger pointed at us, the millennials, every time something goes awry? Why is it seemingly worse?
The answer: Technology.
Since the dawn of time, people have been selfish, greedy, adulterous, murderous, etc. But it is only now, in the last twenty years, that we have been equipped with the means to show all of those intentions. It's not any better or any worse. You are now just able to see it more easily.
We have ways to stay connected every second of the day. Instead of having to sit for hours for a portrait(which, if you want to talk about vanity...), we can just whip out our phones. But we have not changed. We are no different from the teenagers and young adults before us, and those before them. We are simply more exposed.
So that's the big problem. And if at the end of this article, you would still like to point the finger at me and the rest of my peers, I must say something that everyone seems to conveniently forget. And I'm aware I may make some people angry with this statement, but here goes: We did not raise ourselves.
You cannot be responsible for everything your child grows up to be. But you have a major, major hand in it. I am blessed with amazing parents who raised me well, taught me to think of others, to listen to wisdom, and to be a hard worker. But children do not learn in a bubble of "do as I say, not as I do." They learn from you. And if you think the generation around you has grown up selfish, disrespecting marriage, and unwise? Well. Where do you think they learned it from?
I'm sorry if I seem bitter or calloused in this article. It is not my intention to play the blame game. But I'm tired of forcing on a smile as my coworkers talk about "millennials" to me like they don't even realize I am one. It hurts that the generations above me, rather than trying to teach me or help me grow(as my parents have, thank the Lord), are content to just bash me and my age group relentlessly. It doesn't feel like a solution. It feels like an eagerness to make a gap that is already miles wide just a few inches wider, day by day.
So please. Generalization helps no one. The problem with millennials(beyond typical "being a teenager") is the problem which you create. Once we realize that, maybe we can finally begin to bridge the gap once again.