Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I am a Millennial

The "Millennials" Are Coming is an article I stumbled upon researching religious trends among young people. Morley Safer wrote it, but the language used is not just his own. The piece is also sprinkled with quotes from various interviews he conducted, among other sources.

I want you to read this story, and then ask yourself: does Safer's representation of our generation ring true to you? In my opinion, it's a little offensive. He [Safer] quoted a man named Jason Dorsey, saying "We were told when we were little, 'You can be anything you want,'" and then responded "Big lie, right?" He complained about our parents telling us we were special, even though we hadn't done anything to "deserve" it. Safer even went so far as to quote Jeffrey Zaslow, a Wall Street Journal columnist, faulting Mr. Rogers for our presumed narcissism, and saying "But, while we're having this delayed adolescence, are we getting behind as an economy and as a workforce, because we're just all playing computer games at work while we wait to grow up?"


The fact that Morley Safer is as old as the Great Depression, and therefore may have some inaccurate conceptions of our generation, keeps me from going over the top in anger. But I still cannot believe this crap was published, or allowed on TV (as it was originally a broadcast story).

I understand that there may be some truth in the story as to how we as a generation act, and how we perceive ourselves. But to label that narcissism? Give me a break.

Dorsey sums up my feelings on the issue well: "We're not going to settle. Because we saw our parents settle...And we have options."

Is this not true? Hasn't the standard of living gone up, up, up, since our parent's generation? Generally speaking, don't we have more access to education, good health care, etc.? Aren't we becoming increasingly more accepting of people, regardless of insignificant factors such as character quirks, race, or sexuality? Why, then, is it so detrimental for parents to tell their children they are special? What sort of ultimate wrong does that commit?

None. It is simply a different method of parenting--one that encourages self-confidence rather than self-doubting. And the least we can do, as our parent's children, is try to make them proud--show them their sacrifices were worth it, for now we have the choice of living more fulfilling lives than they could. We can confront professors who don't teach to a high standard; we can turn down job offers when there is another, higher-paying, more rewarding offer down the road; we can do these things and more, and love ourselves, because the option exists. We do these things because we can.

Who would do differently, if given the choice?

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