There have been several millennials making impressions upon me lately, and not good impressions. I wonder what kind of parenting my generation chose in order to produce such dependent unquestioning progeny.
The young people in question have no problem describing their fears of daily events. Not a fear of rape – but a fear of being catcalled. Fears of independence, fears of public transit, fears of lone travel… My generation was looking forward to these marks of adulthood, and longed to conquer fear (and were embarassed by small fears). Yet somehow, they have discouraged their own children from embracing these same milestones.
Mothers my age who “have to get off the phone” because their adult child is home from work for lunch (and presumably can’t feed himself?). Parents as chauffeurs, such that I overhear the kids calling their parents from the bus and demanding to be picked up. (We can’t let them walk anywhere, can we?)
Never has information been more readily at our fingertips, yet never used for research. “My dad said” bears so much weight for them. We were rejecting and questioning our parents’ pronouncements, looking up answers for ourselves. Yet, if you question a strange statement for backup, it is blank stares, and “my dad said so”, like Nigel Tufnel’s inability to explain how HIS amps go to 11 when confronted with the reality of calibration. “But our amps go to 11!”
That’s just the way it is – the economy, the law, the government, the environment – with a shrug. Like the pre-1960s conservative generation that still trusted authority and the government. They don’t question the price of anything, they accept all the taxes, and would be too timid to protest anyway.
The way to assert their individuality is by what they purchase, or what they “like”. Not what they do, or what they accomplish. The tattoos on a young body do not make me think the person is cool, they remind me she had $1000 to blow, and if I were to admire the art – it would be for the artist and not the canvas.
The things they see that other people created? They “pin” them and somehow take credit for the artistry through assimilation. If you ‘like’ something on Facebook. Who cares? A list of thumbs up or thumbs down tells me nothing.
The only daring thing they do is steal art – movies, music, video games. But of course, they learned THAT one from their parents.
All I can say is:
Don’t be afraid. Do something.
Don’t buy things or look at things. Make things.
Don’t accept the most illogical statements because of an authority figure. Question and demand answers that make sense.
Have an identity that has substance, that may have an impact on the world. Be a participant, not a spectator.