In Defense of Millennials

I am on the cusp of Gex X and the loathed Millennials. I personally relate way more to the Gen Xers. Flannel, angst, School House Rock, Grunge, Madonna’s Blonde Ambition Tour, Reality Bites, etc. I get these things on a real level.

I’m not really connected as strongly to Pokemon, or emo rock or whatever that generation that came right after me has strong life connection to.

But I’m really tired of people calling the Millennials a bunch of pussies. Yeah, they sort of are, but it’s not their fault. You see the more I work in trauma, the more I’m learning about what generational intricacies are affecting the populations at large.

Baby Boomers are becoming known as a bitter bunch. And rightly so. They were sold the idea of the fact that if they work hard and make sacrifices, they can have a better life than their parents did and can, in turn, provide that for their kids. And you know what? It panned out a lot like that. They had Gen Xers and told them that they’d need to get their butts to college for a better life. So we went. And are now saddled with the debt of that.

And the Boomers worked hard and many got laid off in the recession. They got bitter.

Gen Xers got disillusioned. We thought life was going to be easier because we were told that if we did x,y,z it would be. And it turned out we had to find this thing within ourselves to make life work. And while our Boomer parents slugged days away at jobs they may have hated Gen Xers were somehow instilled with the idea that we should do what we love and maybe even start our own company.

It was a real kick in the gut to a lot of us when we realized our dream jobs paid squat or they didn’t exist. Yet, we figured it out. Mostly on our own.

But the later wave of Baby Boomers started doing something no one had really done before. They started to step in and solve their kid’s problems. They forced them to share and gave them safe space to explore their emotions without consequence. That was the start of the Millennial generation getting all those bubbles placed around them and stakes constantly lowered so far that participation trophies became a thing.

I hate participation trophies. In my classes, one of my 3 ways of talking about dignity is having respect for yourself. It means doing what we’re doing while we’re doing it. There is no dignity in a participation trophy. Participation is an expectation in society. You are not rewarded for it. You just do it.

So for me, that where this problem started. The epidemic of participation trophies, safe spaces and over use of politically correct language.

For the record, I believe language is to be respected and one should be careful, considerate and kind with their words. Their language should be impeccable. Say what you mean, mean what you say.

But that wasn’t what happened. At-risk kids became high-opportunity kids. Therein lies the danger. They were and still are, at-risk. Sure, you can make the argument that the latter is more optimistic or that at-risk carries a negative connotation. But get over it. At-risk is supposed to be alarming. To both the person being labeled as such and those around them. It’s a call to action. They can stop being at-risk. They can overcome that label.

We’ve softened so much to avoid triggering people. When what we should have been doing is giving young people (starting with the generation of Millennials) the ability to cope while triggered. Not avoid it, but develop stress resilience to be able to navigate the world. Becuase the world is not a safe space.

So let’s get back to letting kids cry about things. Then teach them how to deal with what upset them. Teach them how to handle the buttheads at school that says rude crap to them. Don’t fix it for them, teach them how to fix it themselves. Then role play so they can actually practice the skill and put it into action.

Do self-care drills with your kid. Teach them to say no, then have them practice it. Teach them to tell some one not to talk rudely to them, then practice it. Annoy the crap out of them and make them still complete a task. (<–That one is huge!) Make them do chores. Lots of them. Take away stuff when they are acting like brats.

If someone hands them a participation trophy, hand it back. Then explain to your child that by participating they acted with dignity and call it a day.

Do yoga with your kids so they learn how to build that stress resilience. Teach them mindfulness and work diligently to make sure they can do the things you’re practicing.

Let them work for trophies. Failure is fuel. Let them fail. They’ll either move on or work even harder the next time.

Build resilience. XOXO

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