My middle daughter was home for a precious 48 hours. She’s graduated from college and working two jobs to meet her obligations and save for a trip she’s planning next summer and so her availability to be home is limited, but while she was here, her attention was caught by yet another article “blaming” her generation for the death of an industry.
What cracks me up is that the millenials aren’t killing anything that wasn’t going to die off anyway. Helloooo? Market-driven economy, anyone??
Remember how we used to have Mom & Pop stores? Remember how the Boomers killed them with their craven desire for more options in one place? Goodbye Mr. and Mrs. Grocer, hello Walmart, Target, and Costco.
Remember when we had milkmen (and, yes, I am purposefully using gendered language because history)? Remember when we had horse-drawn carts that brought bread, fruit and vegetables to the city? Remember when people lived in cities and small towns rather than manufactured neighborhoods remote from both?
Millenials aren’t doing anything to this world that generations before haven’t done. They are poorer and more creative than any other living generation and if they are killing things from our generation we should accept that those things were on life support by us older, richer. lazier, and less creative generations.
This generation will save us and, hopefully, the world.
They are less tolerant of bullshit and “the way it’s always done,” and are interested in history being taught in inclusive and factual ways (i.e., recognizing how the economy was built on slave labor and fear and on stolen land). They understand that America is not less great when we recognize the brutality of our birth—a brutality that lingers in the treatment of people of color at the hands of a modern institution of policing that was born from the fear of free black people and continues to carry that history forward, as do most modern institutions.
They are not afraid of being “politically correct;” they are interested in being kind, fair, and polite, even though they grew up in the shadow of the missing twin towers. You can call them special snowflakes, entitled and lazy if you like, but that says more about your tolerance for cruelty and incivility than it does of their commitment to seeking justice in a society that has made them the scapegoats for all that is wrong with America today, as if the seeds of all that weren’t sown in the 1970s and 1980s.
I believe in my daughters. I believe in their generation. I believe in the creativity and passion that keeps them going in the face of all the hate they have engendered for simply growing up in our houses, with our values, and in a society and economy that taught them to suck it up and accept less. And then they didn’t.
You don’t need to love everything about them (could we be done with sriracha and kombucha?), but you need to give them respect. They’ve earned it if for no other reason than the world we have given them to make their way in.
Next time you take an Uber to the local farmer’s market to get your locally-sourced greens for your Vitamix shake, remember to thank your youngers for pushing the market to provide you with what you never knew you needed in the first place.