At the present moment there is a fair bit of contempt from some for the “millennials” (those born between 1982 and 2004); and presumably there will be a comparable amount of worry about, and censure of, whatever those born after 2004 come to be called (submit your suggestions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org).
“They think they know everything, and are always quite sure about it,” says one commenter about the younger generation, while another writes “We defy anyone who goes about with his eyes open to deny that there is, as never before, an attitude on the part of young folk which is best described as grossly thoughtless, rude, and utterly selfish.” A third writes that “What really distinguishes this generation from those before it is that it’s the first generation in American history to live so well and complain so bitterly about it.”
Fine and dandy; until one realizes that the first quote is from Aristotle in the 4th century BC, the second from the Hull Daily Mail in 1925, and the third from The Washington Post in 1993. All of these comments show that censure of subsequent generations from those who have gone before is a fine tradition that stretches back more than 2,400 years (even longer, I suspect; we just don’t have the supporting written records from Neanderthal Man to prove it).
I really don’t know why every generation feels compelled to look at those who come after them and call them out as lazy, ignorant, entitled, rude, and more. Aristotle seems to have thought we were in dire straits 2,400 years ago, but somehow we’ve managed to keep things going.
I’m the mother of a millennial, and over the last two months or so have worked closely with several people from that demographic (and others who are from the millennials’ successors). You know what? I think we’re going to be okay.
There were 11 youth in the cast of Anne of Green Gables: The Musical, ranging in age from eight to 16. Over the course of the summer—when they could have been doing all manner of more entertaining things—they met regularly with musical director Theresa Takacs to rehearse their songs, so that when it came time to start the drama rehearsals in September they were ready to go.
And once the drama rehearsals started in September, they were there as much as they could be, given work schedules and other activities going on in their lives. From the time of the technical rehearsal on October 29—the first of nine full rehearsals and performances—they were all there for each one: a time commitment of approximately 45 hours over eight days for each person.
This is in addition to school, of course, and completely voluntary. Their dedication and commitment were wonderful to see; and they’re far from the only youth in our communities to volunteer their time.
I’m sure many people reading this were teens and young adults during the beatnik and hippie eras, and were the subject of much hand-wringing from older generations who were convinced you and your peers represented the end of civilisation as we know it, and who censured you for your clothes, beliefs, work ethic, manners, and more. Most of you seem to have done just fine; there’s no reason to think the millennials will be any different.