Something to consider:
I see a lot of jokes online about Millennials, and how inept/weak/inferior/stupid they are. While few posts or articles actually use these words, let’s face it – this is exactly what they are saying, and you know it. Of course, this got me to thinking. Millennials didn’t create the world they’ve grown up in; that honor belongs to the Baby boomers and the Gen-x’ers. The boomers, children of the self-proclaimed ‘Greatest Generation’, were the offspring of men and women who’d seen previously unknown horrors. Having grown up moving from the simple farm life to the mechanized existence of the city. the ‘greatest’ ended up fighting in the first of the Modern wars, and saw men both ripped apart in ways never before dreamed of, blown apart in pieces just large enough to still be ‘alive’, or gassed like insects. The sheer scale of human suffering left life-long scars on the ‘Greatest’ generation, so it is no wonder that when they started having kids – when the Baby Boomers were born, their parents, though courageous and strong, often over compensated. They lived in constant fear of the Atom Bomb, and yearned for a life that was modern, yet held the simplicity of the farms from their youth. They raised the boomers with fear, and often with a dumbing down of ideas, in an effort to make the world more bearable. The boomers themselves, many having parents that turned to the ultimate simplicity of ‘Hippie’ culture, are a mix of those who see only black and white (and the fear that can bring) and those who see all the shades in between (and the fear that can bring). I personally know very few boomers who have a healthy, positive outlook on life, and the world – but I also know very few who see they role their generation has played as being somewhat responsible for the life we have today.
As for the Gen-X’ers – my generation – consider this. Our grandparents (the ‘Greatest’ generation) were a mix of strong willed fighters who’d seen the horrors of the world, and either worked to make things better, or broke mentally and physically, in ways we are still trying to understand. These folks see the younger generations as weak, or lazy, even though it was their work, their politics, their decisions, that shaped their own children – the Boomers.
The boomers grew up in a time of unabashed exuberance in some ways. We’d won the war. The economy was good. Many people had (on the surface) a picture perfect, ideal life. But under the surface, mommy drank or took pills to deal with daddy’s abuse. Daddy may have had a mistress. The kids would have to pretend to not have heard their parents fighting, even if they were in the room when the bruises were planted, or had themselves been a direct victim of all that pent up violence and anger. It was ‘inappropriate’ to talk even inside the home about the problems you had, and to talk to others was looked upon as the ultimate betrayal.
In many ways, once the ‘Greatest’ had lived through the Wars, the conflict didn’t end. It just moved inside these people. There was no armistice within. If anything, the dichotomy of coming home, and having a life that was on the surface supposed to be perfect, while – in the mind, all the monsters created by the horrors and fears of war still stalk you though the trenches – the fear and anger felt by the ‘Greatest’ for decades after the war shaped their lives, and the lives of their children, in ways we are still dealing with as a society today. They passed along that fear and pain to their Children, who made it their own. No longer shell shocked from actual war, the Boomers were often shell shocked by violence from other sources; sources they should have been able to trust – their own mothers and fathers, who were not equipped to handle the beasts that had sprung up within.
By the time that faceless anger and pain reached another generation, it had added apathy to it’s stock of weapons. The children of the Boomers grew up hearing the stories of grandpa beating grandma, of the girls being thrown out of the house in the middle of the night just because mommy was angry, etc… The list is almost endless. So the Generation X kids looked at the world and saw brightness and joy, poorly masking pain and anger, and decided that if they cared too much, it would destroy them as well. So Apathy and Disdain moved in as roommates to anger and fear, and the whole lot was passed along to the Millennials.
My God – the poor Millennials, who grew up with not only the political stalemates, drug wars, real wars, global expansion, economic collapse, the withering of the middle class, back-steps in social justice, and more, also had to deal with the Y2K crap, and all those who preached that the world was ending. I grew up in such a house, and though I loathe to admit it, there were many years in my life where, somewhere in the back of my head, I didn’t expect to live past twenty-seven. So add in the religious quackery that has become even more pervasive in this country, and it does not surprise me that, out of all the generations in the last century in America, they are not only looked down on by many older people, but see their lives as a fight that was lost before they were even born. Throw ‘Generation Z’ (or, the ‘iGeneration’) into the mix, and it’s no wonder that you have kids doing the Cinnamon Challenge, eating Tide pods, or trying other dangerous tricks online, just to get their fifteen minutes. Sad thing is, most of these behaviors are attributed to the Millennials, who are too damned tired to eat the Tide Pods after doing the laundry for their kids, their parents, and possibly the grandparents they are often caring for. If anything, the Millennials have more on their shoulders, more basic responsibility in caring for their families, their parents, their grandparents, but have been allowed fewer tools to do the job, than any generation before them. Millennials and Gen-X deserve our respect, and our support. Not our ridicule.
Get your facts straight, people. And worry about your own house, before pointing out problems in others.