Dear parents, guardians, and other otherworldly beings who raised millennials:
It’s not your fault. You were not a bad parent or guardian.
Didn’t quite turn out how you envisioned it would, did it? Your child, or person you take care of, who was born somewhere between the early 80s and late 90s, might still be living in your house. They might have a sucky job in a retail store or food joint. Those are the lucky ones. I bet you didn’t know they didn’t realize how this was going to work out as well. Most people in their late 20s and 30s wanted to be like you: work hard, get an education, have a home, and a job that paid the bills and allowed for savings. Who doesn’t want that?
Now, you can get all the economic info anywhere on the Internet, but here are some links to supplement what I’m saying for you to read later. I’m not making this up.
But finances and economics are just a few things that plague me and my fellow millenials. We also have this touchy-feely membrane coating our every decision, thought, and aspect of communication. We also have over 63 genders to choose from and a plethora of mental disorders to either pick or discipline ourselves into having…or we actually have one that we are taught to flaunt (and make it worse), or told to hide because it is shameful. We can also have a disability if we want and be tans-disabled (http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/becoming-disabled-by-choice-not-chance-transabled-people-feel-like-impostors-in-their-fully-working-bodies ). We have everyone around us telling us we were abused as children. Our friends tell us our parents are mean, super-strict, prudes. Some say our concerned family is crazy and we need to get out. I know every once in a while this is true, but really, most of us are just cry babies surrounded by negativity and people who want to hurt us.
Social expectations and pressure are at an all time high these days. Social media makes us accessible and available to criticism and vice every minute of every day. If we’re fat, someone will let us know. If we say we love America and are a patriot, someone will tell us what murdering scumbag racists we are. If we post a prayer or a blessing, someone will condemn us for having a faith. If we post a video of our cat with a piece of tape on his paw, someone will call animal services and report us for abuse.
We are on pins and needles, walking on egg shells because everyone is waiting for someone to point at us and scream “Look at how baaaad that guy is! Thank goodness I’m not that way.” This coupled with the victim trend is crippling our generation—and we are doing it to ourselves. Yes, the economics of our time sucks all the nasty. But our mind-sets could change the world. Everyone knows that you can train your brain to look on the bright side or hunt for vile images to meditate on (https://www.marieforleo.com/2017/09/negativity-bias/ ) (no, this will not cure depression, but good grief does it make it worse—get meds if you need ‘em). If we tried to see the light, I’d post a lot more “Got my paycheck. Yay!” on social media and less “Omg I am so broke poor me, be sad, I eat once a day” nonsense. The latter may be true as snow in Norway, but that doesn’t mean I need to talk about it all the darn time. I do though. Know why? It’s so much easier to be the victim these days. We millenials love to commiserate, but damn you if you are worse off than me!
Being a victim is the new in-thing. If you are a victim, then you are not the one to blame. A radio show I used to listen to said it best:
Our society places a great deal of importance on ‘individual rights’. It seems a day doesn’t go by that someone isn’t telling us they have the right to do something. And, it’s true. Rights are very important. But there’s a flip side to them that is hardly ever discussed these days. It’s called responsibility. As the old song says, you can’t have one without the other! But these days, people are trying to. And the sad thing is, they’re succeeding. They’ve created a whole new class for themselves called, “victims”. “It’s not my fault,” they say, “Don’t blame me, I’m a victim! It was the way I was raised! It was the neighborhood I grew up in. I’m not responsible.” And so we excuse. And even reward all sorts of bad behavior. And little by little, our society decays and crumbles. Don’t let that happen. You can stop it! You, me, we, the people. We make the laws. We can stop the decay. We just have to have the courage to do it
Applying to this situation here, it’s not the laws I’m talking about but out mindset. We can change our mindset if we want to. I did want to and the last couple months have been a whole new life for me. I refuse to be a victim, but not everyone will. I’m going to call out someone who’s desire to be a victim makes them a weak pansy by choice. In a lot of ways, we millenials are victims of society in that we are being attacked our peers. But we don’t have to live there. We can move on from that one time we were victimized. It’s like with a mental disorder: you just need to realize you need to get better. Any way…
(Another post for another time).
It would kill the millennial spirit to post positive, un-emo, not-suicide-endorsing, content to Twitter and Instagram. We have raised ourselves, with the help of our suffering, oh so poor and abused peers, to think this way and see no way out. Yes, your kid’s friends are to blame as well. Millenials are so easily influenced because we are looking for any comrade no matter how hateful. We put up with the abuse we blame you for from our “friends”…We want any comfort no matter how much poison it comes with. And you, as the parent or guardian, are out of the picture because they are convinced you don’t love them and will turn them out or shun them.
Let me take a moment to say one thing though. Your child is having a rough time for so many reasons: poisoned by friends, by media, and having a rough time due to the economic strain and job market. If they come limping back, or you see that they are in dire straights, don’t get angry and say you will kick their ass for ending up in a way. Love them, help set them back on their own two feet, and give them a gentle push. Like on a swing. Or riding a bike. Sometimes we fall off. People are tribal creatures. We are not created to be alone. Maybe your child hurt you when they left. Forgive them for they know not what they did. Be the parent—the bigger person—let it go and help. Reach out. Don’t wait. (More for another post at another time.)
Now, when we do need help, most millennials don’t want handouts (no, seriously, some of us like to work for what we need) but just make them take it. Don’t shower them in money, gifts, and comfort. Just supplement. Help them find a job (my millennial siblings: take the retail job…it may be for ten years, but it’s not forever), help them find a place they can afford, give them some groceries and send them on their way. Tough love. But please note, it IS love. Not just tough. You are lucky to have an oportunity to step up and prove your child and his peers that they were wrong: you did love them and still do.
It’s hard to show even tough love when your baby seems so wrong. Maybe they are doing drugs. Maybe they turned out gay or got pregnant. There are more ways to get screwed up for my generation than there were 30 years ago. If you raised this 20-or-30-smoething year old kid to the best of your abilities and the best way you knew how—with LOVE—then you did fine. As a millennial, I am sorry. I am not sorry for how my generation is because I can’t help that—even though I think we’re all super screwed up. I’m not apologizing for the poor specimen you churned out. And they probably weren’t even that. They were a good kid, tried hard, did what they thought would get them through life (we were all told to be good, get a job, go to college and it will all fall in to place…well…). But this world wants to see mankind fail. You are one –or a lucky two—parents against the world. God bless you for what you did, even if you don’t see it as a success. Think about it, please. You did an amazing job. You versus 7 billion other people who want you, your morals, loving efforts, and child destroyed.
It’s only going to get worse for your grandkids. Everything goes from order to disorder and that goes for our galaxy. Think about thousands of more years of going to disorder. I’ll be gone by then, thank goodness, but my gosh I fear for my descendants. I just have to do my best. Like you.
Please don’t give up on millenials and generation Z. We need your support and wisdom, not your condescension and resentment. We don’t need your snide “Back in my day” comments. You are the ones who shape how we see the world. Because of that attitude we turn to our peers and thus end up with a blind leading the blind scenario.
My point is, you can’t blame yourself for how your babies are turning out. You can’t blame us either as we didn’t make the world we were born in to. But I know some mothers out there who probably cry themselves to sleep over the choices of their darlings. I defend you and thus ask that you not blame us either. We have an illness and love is the cure. Stick together, support each other, and brave the storm. Don’t throw yourself overboard and leave us in the gale–you did what was right.