This morning I opened up Facebook to another one of those videos. You know the one where it’s a middle aged person complaining about/ telling everyone that they’ve figured out Millennials. We’re the generation that got participation trophies, spends too much time on our phones, and can’t commit. Maybe you’ve read one of the top 12 lists for why Millennials don’t do something or do do something. And yet, despite all these articles and videos, somehow Millennial bashing seems to never get old.
So here’s the thing, I’m a millennial. I just read an article that said I’m an old millennial, and I can get that. I even read other articles that have said a lot of the stereotypes about millennials and how we participate in the workforce aren’t even true. So this blog post isn’t about that. People have covered that topic better than I can — it’s more about what is the motivation behind this process? What do folks get from it?
So, this isn’t a new thing. The Greatest Generation critiqued the Boomers. People critiqued the X-ers but they didn’t seem to be as fun to talk about, so they moved on to the Millennials. So, there is nothing new under the sun. But here’s what gets me — why are the people raising Millennials the ones I see most frequently criticizing them?
I love being told my generation has no sense of delayed gratification because we received participation trophies by the very same age group of people who gave out the participation trophies. (Might I mention also the same generation that put linoleum over hardwood floors *cough cough*). And I most often see critical posts by people who parent or grandparent someone my age. So what’s the reasoning? Is it ultimately a sense of inadequacy with their parenting style and skill? Is it a passive aggressive way to try and change something about their child? Do people just think it’s funny and it doesn’t matter? I’ve heard heard people critiquing a supposed Millennial and the person doesn’t even fall into that generation. Or as one such video said “Millennial just means someone younger than me who I disagree with.”
If you’ve made it this far and you’re one of those people who likes to critique my generation broadly either on Facebook or in person, please hear this —
Please find something new to talk or post about for a while. If you have an issue with a specific child/millennial go talk to them, don’t put down their whole generation. And if the issue is with your own millennial, dare I say you both played a part in it, so you might want to talk it over together. Or if you’re going to post about my generation at least go with a well researched article, not someone just complaining on a Facebook video.
And yes, some of the stereotypes are true. But some aren’t exclusively true — all people are trying to figure out how to live connected, productive lives with the new technology we’ve been given. I know people across all generations who spend too much time on the internet.
Also stereotypes don’t take into account what we’ve inherited — especially the economic and political world we became adults into. It’s a mess. And most of my friends still work jobs they’ve committed to for the long haul, are trying to buy houses, participate in the community, and pay down debt, etc.
Please stop saying/ posting all these critical things and then wondering why said millennials aren’t at your church or participating in the thing you want them to take part of. It’s super contradictory. And there’s just a lot more interesting things in the world to talk about and be concerned about.
Lastly, and most importantly, expectations matter — what might happen if you said you expected great things from us? What is you expressed some hope in the future generations and helped us live up to it? Do you know someone my age who could use mentoring or encouraging? Expect more from us, and give us a chance to try.
I’m glad I’m a Millennial. I know a lot of lovely people my age who care about justice, equality, and leading a balanced family and work life. Add to that, we’ve become adults in a challenging economic, political, technological, and cultural time. We could use some encouragement, or at the very least, not blanket criticism.
A tired but grateful Millennial
P. S. If the stereotypes continue, now is when you tell me I’m a sensitive snowflake for complaining about being criticized, but don’t worry I can take it. 😉