A Word About Those Snowflake Millennials
I'm not old enough to know if we've always done this to the younger generation, but it seems it's quite popular these days to bash the Millennial generation. They are snowflakes. They are entitled. They are basement-dwelling, Cheetoh dust encrusted, no job-having losers of no repute, or so so the story goes.
The age range of Millennials is debated, but the Pew Research Center defines the birth years of Millennials as being from 1981 - 1996, so let's just go with that. Technically, I fall within that group, having been born in 1983.
There are so many angles to looking at a generation of people, but I want to share some thoughts on how Millennials got here and what we can learn from them.
Baby Boomers, Stop Running Your Mouths
Millennials are the children of baby boomers, many of whom have the loudest gripes about this generation. I have heard the most complaints from my parents' generation, and this is just so ironic we have to talk about it.
Who raised these snowflakes? In whose homes did they learn work ethic, respect, and the questions to the big questions of life?
Now I'm ahead of you here. You Baby Boomers may think this is just another example of shirking responsibility. Here I am, a Millennial, blaming the ills of my generation on another generation. This is the root of the problem, right? A lack of responsibility isn't solved by blaming others.
Scripture says if you train up a child in the way he should go, he will not depart from it. Now there are painful examples of great parents raising maniac children, but for this Scriptural truth is of course true for humanity as a whole. And that this means is that parents have culpability for how their children turn out. And it isn't just parents. We are formed by coaches, teachers, neighbors, and church leaders, too.
Everyone has a hand in the formation of Millennials. Millennials are responsible for their actions (or lack thereof), as are all people of influence in their lives.
The Why Generation
The Greatest Generation is aptly named in my opinion. They were far from perfect, but they were as a people group pretty hard-working, brave, and humble. They went off to World War II to punch Nazis in the throat and then came back to raise families and build businesses. They were forged by hardship and responsibility. Baby Boomers, their children, benefitted from the backbone of the Greatest Generation. And then the Baby Boomers raised children in the systems created by the Greatest Generation.
And here is what happened.
The Baby Boomers worked because that's what you did. That's what Dad did. You worked hard. You put your head down and got a job and worked until retirement or death, whichever came first. And this is admirable.
But many of them didn't stop to think about why they were doing what they were doing. With he voices of their parents in their heads, the Boomers just pushed on.
And Here Come Millennials
Hardship is the breeding ground for beautiful souls. Romans 5 says:
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope...(v. 3-4)
When we are comfortable, we are miserable. This is why rich people go nuts so often. God made us to fight, endure, and live. Comfortable lives are lives without texture, stories without conflict.
I understand this piece contains broad, sweeping generalizations. You can't talk about a generation without doing so. So when I say the Millennial generation is a prosperous generation, I know full well there are many who had horrendous upbringings of poverty, abuse, and neglect. But stay with me here.
The standard of living we enjoy today is incomprehensible as compared to the historical standard of living humans have experienced since The Garden. Call it evolution or progress or whatever you want to call it, but the huge majority of us live like kings.
And many of us are miserable.
Millennials are comfortable. And thus, they have some angst. They are well fed and have clothes on their backs and by and large live completely safe lives. Thus, their relative affluence gives them the ability to think about such lofty topics as the nature of existence and gender roles and what not. And thus it seems they don't want to live as a pawn within the status quo. They want to know why they're working. They want to know why they should marry. They want to know why they're here in the first place.
They want to know WHY.
The Wisdom of the Millennial Generation
Yeah, you read that sub-heading right. The Millennials as a generation have some wisdom to share. Now of course it's possible to ask why until you become an agnostic in a padded room, as at some point you have to make a determination of truth. But the wisdom of why - the banner of the Millennials - is of fundamental importance to all of us, regardless of generation.
Why are you here on earth?
The answer to this question will define the course of your life. It is what is called your worldview.
Many of us don't know the answer to this question. We didn't ask to be born and so here we are, amidst a bunch of other people and weather and technology and suffering. We just shrug and check our email again. This apathetic agnosticism is a recipe for hell, and I mean that.
I'll share my answer to the big why question.
I am here because I was knitted together in my mother's womb by a big, massive, loving Father who has a plan for me. And, despite my sinful predisposition, this Father sent his Son to pay for my transgressions and to give me a brand new heart. And now, having been reborn due to no choice or merit of my own, his Spirit lives within me and is moving in me even as I write these words. And my why is that I'm here to enjoy this wonderful God, to bring him honor and glory, and to share the resulting joy with everyone I come in contact with. And I believe this road goes on forever.
Regardless of your generational affiliation, have you asked the big question of why? Do not wait. Tomorrow is not promised. Make like a Millennial snowflake and ask the question.