A Valentine To My Students
In fact, the Pew Research Center labeled them, “Confident. Connected. Open to Change.”
Turns out, the Millennial Generation is introspective, empathetic, complex and hopeful.
Yes, their parents may have been overly attentive, but maybe that offered a sense of security during a childhood plagued by September 11, the Great Recession, news from Iraq and Katrina and — for the older ones, Oklahoma City and Columbine.
These kids were also more likely to be raised by single parents than past generations.
And they are the most connected ever, thanks to the Internet — and thanks to being the most multi-racial of our history, too.
Between adversity and connectedness, it’s no wonder they have become a reflective, compassionate and multifaceted lot. To paraphrase New York Times columnist, David Brooks:
While some pain can be destructive, and should be exited as quickly as possible, other wounds may open a deep awareness of what others are facing. This pain draws you deeper into yourself, beneath your routines where you see that you are not who you had thought you were. And then it smashes through the bottom floor of your personality, revealing yet another area below. People shoot for happiness but feel formed through suffering.
One young man sought success because,
The better you’re doing, the more you can share with other people.
This generation gave us Occupy Wall Street. And they are seeking to join the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps and Teach for America in record numbers.
When the economy crashed in 2008 they learned that you can’t count on jobs and wealth. So they seek to acquire less, not more.
Two-thirds would rather make $40,000 a year at a job they love than $100,000 doing work they find boring.
They aren’t into prestige brand names, and prefer doing business with enterprises that embrace humanitarian values, especially those that support solutions to social problems.
Millennial’s are more likely to be “faithful vegetarians” than are Gen X’ers — by a factor of 4. And by a factor of 12 compared with boomers.
Oh, and organically farmed cottons that are “completely free of pesticides, chemicals and bleach,” please.
No, these descriptions will not fit every single Millennial. But they fit this generation more than any that have come before.