A school assignment translated from its original French.
“Back when I was a kid, everything was different!”
As millennials we hear that exclamation a lot every time we visit our grandparents, still nostalgic for the olden days. Without a doubt, everyone thinks their generation is better than today’s youth, but, it seems that the disparity between today’s millennials and our elders is more profound than we’d care to admit.
A study, created in May of 2016 for both adults and students illustrates the common stereotypes affecting our generation. When asking the opinions of both adults and millennials, I gathered a variety of responses, though with surprisingly similar trends across generations. The results are clear: the problem of technology and young peoples’ constant connectivity is one of the biggest sources of conflict between groups. But, the millennials aren’t as oblivious as one would think; 30% of those surveyed under 27 years of age admitted that our use of technology for anything and everything is a problem.
“Millennials don’t understand the value of money; their parents gave them everything on a silver platter.”
We are consistently accused of being a lazy generation, with absolutely no work ethic, who rely on our parents to fund our spending habits, but, when a staggering percentage of our ranks isn’t even old enough to legally apply for a job (93% of those surveyed were under 18), there’s simply no way for us to avoid this stereotype. In a time when education has a much higher value than manual or physical labor, it’s not shocking that 86% of the surveyed adults aren’t impressed with our work ethic. One reason for this negative view could be because of newer and more prominent technologies, that allow new members of the work force to complete tasks much more efficiently than those working before us. In short, it takes us a lot less time to do the same amount of work as before.
“Millennials won’t take advice from or listen to the opinions of their elders.”
In the same questionnaire, when asking adults to describe young people from the millennial generation, the most frequent response was linked to the lack of respect they seemed to have toward their parents, grandparents, and elders. However, what I find so ironic is that all generations agree that our generation is one of the most tolerant in history, which both groups would, for the most part, categorize as a positive characteristic. When we see daily reports relating the struggles of marginalized groups to normalize and promote equal rights for every single being, we can’t argue that there’s at least one aspect of society that IS better today than before, despite those that would critique us. And, as for the lack of respect that we are typically chastised for, wouldn’t the increased value we hold on human life as a whole seem to contradict the belief that we hold a decreased value for the very people that raised us?
“Young people are so emotionally delicate, and publish their every thought online.”
I can’t really confirm or deny whether we are a generation with more crybabies than before. I certainly know my fair share of millennials on both ends of that statement. Nor can I condemn our online activity- it would certainly seem hypocritical for me to do so as I’m publishing this blog online…But is it really such a bad thing to have formed opinions that we’ve thought about enough to share with an audience ready to listen, and at times, to debate? Despite the 76% of surveyed individuals who agree that most of the time, young people forget to live in the ‘real world’, I choose to think of us as an analytical generation, who are deep thinkers, even if we are sometimes too honest online for the liking of certain people. There is no doubt that we make sure that our voices are heard, especially when we are dissatisfied with the world we are living in and, what choice do we have? When the majority of society would condemn our communal ‘sensitivity’, we don’t have any choice but to broadcast our opinions and messages on a digital platform that is less likely to reject our thoughts.
So, why is there such a discord between generations?
We could easily imagine that this tension is merely a secondary effect that accompanies any transition between age groups; young people, before considered as ‘leaders of tomorrow,’ are now becoming the leaders of today, which makes the ‘leaders of yesterday’ uncomfortable- and rightly so!
We could also blame our living environment for causing this perpetual conflict, as global developments (technology, cities, lifestyles, etc.) continue to rise. And, as the world continues to become a stranger and stranger place, at a faster and faster pace, it’s only natural that many in our society experience something similar to culture shock, as societal norms become more alien. It has often been said that over a mere 40 years, liberals become conservatives without ever changing their beliefs, a statement that rings true, now more than ever, for many in our society.
That being said… this vehement conflict between the dominant social groups does seem to be cyclical; probably existing between every young generation and their parents. But, if that is the case, wouldn’t you think our elders would be more understanding? They should be able to remember our situation that is, theoretically, so similar to their own when they were our age. And, if they do understand the pressure that accompanies our duty to improve our world yet our obligation to keep things traditional for those that raised us, why do they so often feel such pessimism toward us?
Still, I can’t help but wonder if there is something more complex that drives these stereotypes.
Maybe we will never know exactly why 34% of those surveyed have a negative opinion of our generation. Though, I would be remiss not to mention that it does seem to be those most apt to criticize that did raise this generation as a whole and, if they weren’t happy with our world’s trajectory, they did have about 18 years to forge society’s collective children in a different way.
Like many of my friends, I am proud to be of my generation. Though many would accuse us of being idealists, I’ll wear that label with pride because to want to do good and make our world a better place, at least for this millennial, will never be something to be ashamed of.
For more information on the survey that I conducted, feel free to contact me on Facebook of WordPress.com.