By Becky Andrews
Most adults have repeated the same phrase when referring to the younger generation, “What is this world coming to?” From the boomers to millennials, we’ve all been on the receiving end of criticism about our taste in music, movies, politics, and work ethic. My own parents had little patience for my taste in music, refusing to believe it was anything but noise. While there are many things I find annoying about the younger generation…texting a person sitting next to them, neck jerking to keep the hair out of their eyes, the constant mumbling, The Harlem Shake and on and on and on, in spite of it all, I still feel like we adults, the future retirees, are going to be just fine in their hands. Here’s why:
1. Tolerance- These “kids” are happily growing up in a world where they understand that using certain words to describe a person’s skin color, sexual orientation or religious affiliation is not just wrong but they will call out those who discriminate against anyone. And for that, I think parents deserve a pat on the back. After all the seed for prejudice is planted at home.
2. Technology-there’s nothing more dreadful than walking into Verizon knowing the next four hours will be spent pacing the floor waiting for your number to be called. When your number is finally called you find out your warranty doesn’t cover “acts of overuse via flappy bird” and now need to shell out $300 to repair it. Luckily, my oldest, a proud member of the Millennials, can fix, restore, or program anything with access to the internet.
3. Talk- Granted my generation and the generation before helped pave the way for the benefits of talking things out, but we are still uneasy about revealing if we have any knowledge or experience with therapy, depression, anxiety, OCD, etc. Our kids though, see the world through a different pair of shades where the best medicine doesn’t have to be medicine. It can be a nice talk.
4. “No” is the new “Yes”- No one can guilt these kids into doing something. They have learned, perhaps from their overstretched mothers and fathers, that saying “no” to things that aren’t productive doesn’t mean you’re a slacker, it means saying “yes” to more family time, rest and just feeling happy.
5. Transparency- As much as the upcoming generation share a bit too much via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and a few other social media outlets parents aren’t supposed to know about, there’s something to be said about not being afraid to show the world (or at least your 1400 Facebook friends) who you really are.
6. Just doing it!- This is not an, “I’ll take your word for it” generation. They learn by doing, not just by listening and reading. Sure they are an impulsive bunch of knuckleheads sometimes but impulsiveness isn’t always a bad thing. Ask Justin Timberlake.
In this writers opinion, we are not doomed because the oft described, “ME, ME, ME” generation who will soon take the helm. Sure, they are different. They can be rude, a tad lazy when it comes to housework, and aren’t afraid to point out how technologically stupid we can be. Different can be a good thing. So before I take a break from writing to check my teenager’s text messages, Instagram and Twitter feeds, I’ll remember to find comfort in those-specifically, Millennials- who are so beautifully different than we are. Because if we look at them long enough, you’ll likely see your own reflection.
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