Dear Beloved Reader,
I’ve been mulling over the thought of being a millennial for quite some time. If you follow me on Facebook you may have even noticed my page being crowded by comments and opinions. If you are between the ages of 18-35 you would place yourself in this category and understand my fascination.
So here are some dictionary definitions of the generation that you are either seeing grow up in front of you or you are a part of. Actually … this is an urban dictionary definition because it made me laugh out loud.
Special little snowflake.
Born between 1982 and 1994 this generation is something special, cause Mom and Dad and their 5th grade teacher Mrs. Winotsky told them so. Plus they have a whole shelf of participation trophies sitting at home so it has to be true.
They believe themselves to be highly intelligent, the teachers and lecturers constantly gave them “A”‘s in order to keep Mom and Dad from complaining to the Dean. Unfortunately, nobody explained to them the difference between an education and grade inflation so they tend to demonstrate poor spelling and even poorer grammar.
They were born into the instant gratification that Microwaves and online shopping birthed. Part of the social media discovery they remain narcissist, while lying to the rest of their world of their joys in life and battling the highest percentage of Depression any generation has seen. Technologically driven and utterly unable to socialize, build into relationships and be patient. Millennials are the most educated generation, and were failed by their government with lack of jobs and lack of support. The most In Debt (College debt) generation and completely broke. You are married to your phone and the internet has more pictures of you than your parents.
While this definitions may be funny, it has some serious statements in the midst of the joking. While I browsed the internet looking for articles about the generation I am a proud to be a part of I started to notice the demoralizing ways we have described this generation. While I would be the first to admit that there are some negative issued revolving this tech-savvy group, I think that there are more deeply seeded problems. We can point the finger and blame the generation that came before us or after us but we lose sight of the real problems.
I started to feel passionate about this topic because I had a conversation with a friend of mine who was a college graduate, struggling to find a job and in pile and piles of debt. She expressed the injustice of what we were set up for and the bleak future held in store for us. The conversation got incredibility heated because I too felt the same injustice for my own life. I totally understood working a job I didn’t go to school for. I too felt misunderstood, disconnected and yet overly exposed through social media. I too found myself like my friend, playing the comparison game that comes with being part of a social media- selfie generation that are “pretending to have it all together”. And I also am in piles and piles of debt with no idea how my husband and I will ever make enough for our level of education to even justify going to school in the first place. And before we knew it we were playing the blame game. All I could see is the awful job our generation did before us with setting us up for success. Like Chandler Bing in Friends, “could I BE any more entitled?” This conversation plus a slew of other ones I had before and after led me to take a hiatus from Social Media, Facebook, Insta, Snap. All of it because one of the most disturbing and I admit, frustrating things about being tied to the label “Millennial” is the constant judgmental position of us being totally unable to build relationships through dialogue. In simple terms, we lack social skills. So I took a month break to come back and realize, I’m not feeling any different than I did before I took the break I have always been self-aware about connecting with people and yet I still love my snapchat, insta, FB social media life. So I know there was something deeper than exercising the Feng shui method of simplifying my life from technology. The more I dived into understanding the issues of our generation the more I became convinced that the issue wasn’t the list of things wrong with Millennials, but the lack of dialogue and understand from each side- both the generations before us and the ones who define themselves as a millennial.
The real problem with labels is sticking to those labels and letting the negativity hinder us from growing. Every generation has its “hang ups”, every person who has ever lived has experienced labeling. So it bothers me beyond belief that I over hear parents/ older people around me state that the “problem with your generation is…” instead of saying” hey, let’s dialogue and let me be open to hear the frustrations of this younger generation and partner with them in their sufferings.”
It’s easy to be dismissive and to be honest it’s not uncommon to see parents do this to their 3 year old when they get into that age of saying why? To almost everything. However, I’m an adult, who is asking why? And desiring people to partner in discovering how we can bring about change and not to give up the hope for that change. I think that now more than ever in our society we need to have healthy dialogue, where we can be open-minded in understanding people’s perspective instead of being augmentative. I have strong convictions in my life because based on my upbringing and my experiences it has shaped me into the person I am. This is also true for everyone, older or younger. We are shaped not just by our culture, or generation, but by our experience. The more we are aware of this and approach each conversation with this “self-awareness” the better we care and love one another. This is what Jesus did, he was the most self-aware person, aware of culture and context and never belittled people story or afflictions. Jesus met people right where they were and walked them out of their afflictions.
Being a millennial is being a person stuck and not choosing when to be born. We are the product of the culture that was established before us, and thus we aren’t really responsible for it. We are, however responsible for how we use the culture established before us to bring glory to God. It is our responsibility to look at the cards dealt to us and let God walk us through the mess and believe that there is hope. It is the responsibility of those older around us, to partner in that.
“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
“Each generation goes further than the generation preceding it because it stands on the shoulders of that generation. You will have opportunities beyond anything we’ve ever known.” —- Ronald Reagan