“In relay racing, there comes a great disappointment when those who are supposed to receive the baton to get to the finishing line do not get it from those who are supposed to hand off the baton.”
― Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
“The Millenials” (born from 1981-2000) are as talked about as any group today. Millenials must be a rotten group of people with their self-centered attitudes and hopeless irresponsible habits that have been reported by older adults. If life is like a relay race, someone was supposed to have passed them a baton. I think you have to look to those who were in the earlier legs of the race: Generation X (1965-1980), Baby Boomers (1946-1964), and the Greatest Generation (composed of two sets 1901-1924 and 1925-1945). Isn’t it possible that someone forgot to pass the baton, or that maybe we just forgot to let it go?
This is the time to come to the defense of a great group and help the rest of us own our part in their perceived shortcomings. You see, the people who are reported to be self-centered and self-absorbed by some might just be behaving in the way they’ve been trained. I think the Millenials are getting a raw deal and their attributes are being overlooked.
Folks in the Greatest Generation came through fifty years of strength building. Dr. Jill Novak says of this group, “Their Depression was The Great One; their war was The Big One; their prosperity was the legendary Happy Days.” Children of those who fought in World War I, fighters in World War II and Korea–this is a strong generation, worthy of our admiration. They saved their dollars to be able to purchase with cash, they valued their right to a voice and voted, and they were loyal to everyone and everything–jobs, marriages, organizations–even when they shouldn’t have been. As a whole, the Greatest Generation was pretty amazing. Having struggled as children, many grew up to overdo for their own children–not wanting them to have to endure the hardships of the previous generation. They birthed the Baby Boomers, and to my group the baton was passed.
Just barely in the Baby Boomers group, I remember the talk of the horrible music that was too loud, the hair on boys that was too long, and the dresses on girls that were too short. We were a hopeless generation. If you were born between 1946 and 1964, you are one of these hopeless people. Oddly enough, most of us turned out to be wonderful people with varied tastes in music, art, clothing, and food. How many times did adults shake their heads with remarks of “Where did we go wrong?” Most of those parents are pleased as punch with the way their children grew up into caring responsible citizens. The Baby Boomers make up an eighteen year span, and while we grew up with connected relations with neighbors, we grew into a disconnect as we chose to focus on careers and upward mobility. Only as we have come into our golden years have we begun to value what we had as children and seek to reconnect in relationships. Passing the baton to Generation X and the Millienials, I wonder if we did our best?
Today, I see where many in my age group have taken more ownership of our children than of our choices, and we are left with a generation often struggling for independence. Instead of announcing what a sorry lot they are, it is without a doubt time that we recognize what we failed to provide in our desire to supply them with enough. This is a generation of brilliant, caring, hard-working young men and women. It is time to correct our over-doing and providing by giving them tools we might have withheld and hand them a baton that will enable them to finish their leg of the race well.