Hello facebook friends of my mother’s generation.
I love you guys. Most of you pop up on my Facebook feed because you are friends with my mother, the parents of my childhood best friends, or my mom taught your children art lessons. You all have cooked me dinner, listened to me tell you what I’ve wanted to be when I grow up. I’ve made you coffee when you’re too early to drop your children off to art class when I’m home from Georgetown. Even more of you are my teachers–– the collection of human beings who have impacted my life the most, second only to my mother. You all, as a generation, have raised me, molded me, given me space to investigate myself and the world around me with a passionate and steadfast inquiry that I cherish. I am not being facetious when I say: Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all you have done for me, even those of you who are on the periphery, who might not know me well or be invested in my life at all, you’ve been more valuable than you will even know.
So here’s the second part of this letter. That passion, inquiry, curiosity for the world I was talking about? Well, I’ve been thinking, and inquiring, and pondering something lately–– both in the aftermath of the election, but even in the preceding two years.
Here is goes: My 40-70 year old friends and mentors, why do you hate my generation?
This is a conversation I want to have. I really, really want to know. Did your parents and their friends think the same of you? I scroll through my facebook feed daily and it is (ironically, I think) dominated by members of your generation, dropping the term “Millennials” as a dirty, vile word. This isn’t limited to a political party or profession (although, my dear teachers, you largely don’t participate in the chronic facebook posting and more often spend your precious time trying to mold the future of the world through inspiring children so kuddos to you)
Please help me understand. I see your distain at the “everyone get’s a trophy” culture that millennials seem to embody. But, and this isn’t to pass the buck here but rather to inspire some careful thought, who gave those trophies? Who raised this generation that you find is ruining our world? I, as an 8 year old, the proud recipient of multiple participation-ribbons at the CDS field day (which, I admit, never tricked me into thinking I was a good athlete), was not creating this culture. I didn’t give out ribbons. I didn’t rebel against my parents’ straight edge and judgmental parenting style and vow to raise my children in a more sensitive and inclusive manner. This is only a small example that I recently scrolled past and sparked my curiosity.
Yes, millennials complain and are angry and want to change the world? We were given skills, education, passion, sensitivity, and a changing climate–– both socially and ecologically. I would be shocked if we complacently and slowly marched down the beaten path of mediocrity and threw our critical thing–– which you sacrificed and care to much to give us–– to the wind.
So here’s the thing: you don’t like millennials. Let’s talk about it; I’ll do the listening. Because the fact of the matter is, with all of the “come together” jargon that’s being thrown around these days, we are going to want to be in each other’s corners; we did, quite literally, come out of you after all. We are young, diverse, overpopulated, overeducated, and on fire with a passion to change the world–– you might not see that under your daily dosage of Facebook scrolling through 20 somethings ‘complaining’ and posting pictures of cats. You are wise, seasoned, parental figures who still have, albeit with perhaps a more cynical or pragmatic approach, that same fire, the same love and care that you poured into your children, for the world that we have–– we don’t see it when we scroll our news feeds viewing your posts condemning our generation and sharing casserole recipes.
Let’s talk about safe spaces. Let’s talk about participation trophies. Let’s talk about intersectional feminism. Let’s talk about what you often call “political correctness.” I have opinions, I have a lot of opinions actually, and I write and act on them often. But I’m tired of writing to an audience of like minded youngsters that only validate the things I already find to be true. I’m here to listen to you and learn from you once again.
So tell me, why do you hate millennials? And–– far more importantly–– what do you want us to change together?
Text me? (828) 337-5394*
*I am in India and can’t receive calls right now but I could probably hook up a little Facetime situation if you prefer face-to-face contact