Our elders are taught to look down on my generation as a bunch of rotten, spoiled kids who only care to have our noses in four inch screens and our butts in comfortable chairs. They call us disrespectful, arrogant, and rude. When I walk into a room, smile, and shake the hand of an adult, I am met with a look of disbelief, followed by a nod of approval directed at my mother who walked in behind me. When I call a professional and have to leave a message, my call is not returned, but when my teacher leaves the same message, a call arrives the next day. When we enter a classroom we are assigned a desk in a neat row, because we can’t be trusted. I’ve learned to stop referring to myself as a student, as that immediately makes me less worthy of someone’s time. Some days I can’t wait to get wrinkles. I guess what I’m asking for, is for everyone to give us a chance and to try a little harder to say yes sometimes.
So often my peers and I hear that, “At the rate we’re going, our world will be a disaster when we are adults,” but I beg you to give us more credit than that. After all, we’re the kids with the world at our fingertips. We can get a hold of information faster than we’ve ever been able to before, and you’re telling us to slow down. You might roll your eyes when we spend hours on the internet talking to people we’ve never met and researching places we’ve never been, but why shouldn’t we use this amazing tool every chance we get? Think of it this way… you’re not going to move a pile of rocks with a shovel when you’ve got a skid loader next to you. If my class is researching the education system in Botswana, I guarantee we can be on the phone with an English classroom in the country tomorrow. Tell me that’s making me less social. It’s all about how you use these amazing tools. Why spend time memorizing things that would be easier to just search, when we should be learning how to work together, get things done, think creatively, manage our time, or talk to strangers? Now there’s something google doesn’t do better.
If I have learned anything about people in my short eighteen years of life, it is that we love to focus on the negative. The very world we live in screams no. No, the average person cannot aspire to be a CEO or MVP. No, a child cannot approach an adult for an intelligent conversation. No to out-of-the-box thinking, to singing at the dinner table, to wearing polkadots with plaid. I know a lot of people would say my generation will only push this world closer to the inevitable hell we all seem to think we’re headed for, but us? We “millennials”… we think they’re dead wrong, and I think for once there’s something to be learned from us. All we say is yes.
I’m not asking a lot from you, I swear. All the world needs is a little more open-mindedness. So here’s where we start. “Hey dad, what are you working on?” Don’t say it… don’t say you’re just finishing up some things for a project. Don’t say, “Give me five minutes and we can watch that movie together.” Tell me you’re pricing wood flooring alternatives because right now you’re $5,000 over budget and they need the quote tomorrow, because you know what? I probably wasn’t going to hear about that in 4th period economics. We need to know how the real world works and that’s something we can’t just look up. I mean yeah, we can google it in like three seconds, but google isn’t going to recommend we always order from the Carpetland one town over because they’re more reliable than the Carpet One next door.
As much as you think we only enjoy staring at our screens, you couldn’t be more wrong. Humans are knowledge hungry, every last one of us. I’m not saying we don’t need to know how to do things the long way, and I’m not saying 24/7 screen time is a good thing. What is a good thing, though, is the slow with the fast, the old with the new, and people of all ages working together. We youngsters need more work on our face-to-face stuff, and grandma, I’ve told you a million times that typing an entire sentence into google isn’t going to get you anything good, no matter how well you punctuate it.
Perhaps if given a little responsibility or even just a little faith, my “ungrateful and useless” generation can be part of the solution, not the root of the problem. It’s time to realise we are in a world where yes we can is the only answer. A world where answers practically precede questions, so we need to embrace the simplicity and use it to grow. All we can ask for from you is a little more optimism and a lot more faith in us. We can’t afford to take no for an answer, because in the time it takes to say no, someone else has already said yes and now we’re stuck in the dark ages while they’re answering the next question. Take our word for it… yes we can always comes out in your favor.
Future Educator. Iowan. Passionate about People.
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