By “The Chief”
Not a day goes by where I (a millennial mind you) hear older generations crapping all over mine. You know the criticisms, they are dumb, addicted to their phones, aren’t motivated, what do they do all day? etc. etc. etc. While in most cases these denunciations are correct, you were the enabler!
This started back during school for us, when you as parents would make excuse after excuse for our misbehavior, poor productivity, or general laziness. “He is a good kid”, “She has a learning disability”, “His homework is at home we left too quickly”, etc. Sure on occasion you may have spanked us, grounded us, sent us to bed without dinner; however, these were also enabling tactics, as the following day you acted as if nothing happened. You made us play basketball, football, soccer, baseball, band, you name it, we gorged on activities year round, your enabled us by burning us out. By burning us out, we couldn’t compete on a sports team in high school, so we came right home after school, sometimes 3 hours before a parent would return from work. We never did our chores, but that’s ok because you said “homework” was more important but we usually had none so we played on the video game system you bought for us or dabbled in drugs.
You caught us, but you remembered your own drug use, so you let it pass, rationalizing that “it’s a fad.” You caught us cutting class, cheating, etc. yet you still let us hang out with our friends, because we needed a social life. You let your daughter dress however she wanted, leaving little to the imagination, now you’re upset she has self-esteem issues. However due to your absenteeism, she has downloaded Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and any other app, only to see other girls half-dressed looking better than her and as a result she wants plastic surgery. Mental health anyone? As a result, we no longer talk to people like adults, we now exist only in cyberspace as an anonymous internet bully. We talk to people the same way, we tell our parent to f*** off, shut up, etc. Our own parents, those who brought us into the world…. However, you never punished us. Again, indicting your generation. We speak through emojis, texts, and emails, we have “friends” not friends.
We fell in love with TV, specifically “reality TV.” This molded our thoughts and started a sympathetic mentality. We binged on “My 600lb Life”, “Teenage and Pregnant” and “John and Kate plus 8.” As adults, you should have told us this is no way to live our lives.
Instead these people have become sympathetic figures with us wanting social justice for them. This combined with teachers who run their classroom like a courtroom, not allowing a difference of opinion, have now made two generations sympathetic and now have deeply ingrained beliefs of equality. It is no longer what you believe or think, it’s how you feel. Poor Caitlyn Jenner should use any bathroom she wants. Colin Kaepernick should be allowed to kneel during the National Anthem because that is him expressing himself. The “Octomom” is a single mother who should get all the care she needs.
We have been ingrained to ignore the plight of the working person, forcing them to subsidize the life of people who make horrendous life choices.
Your lack of parenting caused us to identify with a group as opposed to listening to you. We have a tribal mentality as opposed to a family or faith based mentality. We rely on the opinions of friends and close associates as opposed to thinking for ourselves or real life experiences from you. As a result, our friends and teachers have molded our thoughts, all while you looked the other way. You may try to retort, but we saw it on TV, and everyone is watching/talking about the show.
Your generation didn’t stop there, you expected us to attend college whether we were prepared or not under the guise that “no degree means no good job.” Our teachers agreed, clearly this ideal worked for them. It was almost as if the college imperative was a form of collusion amongst your generation. Our professors got in on it as well saying a salary offer of 70k a year or less is a slap in the face with a degree from our institution. We drank deep and long on this Kool-Aide offered to us. So we went to college, signing on to significant student loan debt, all the while majoring in; political science, the humanities, communication, or sports management….all worthless degrees in the real world. On freshman move in day at the dorms, you even bought booze for us, your offspring. You wanted to be the cool parent and what better way for us to meet people. Sadly, lesson learned. You taught us the rules didn’t apply. Even worse, the go-go days of easy credit and a fake economy were booming so you bought a boat, way bigger house, two big vehicles, put a pool in…everything was great, if you got it flaunt it, forget keeping up with any Jones’s you were the Jones’s.
Then things stopped, it got very ugly….your boat? Sold it to try to cover house payments. You or your spouse or both of you lost your jobs. The cars were repossessed and the house foreclosed on. Rather than blame your own splurging, you blamed the banks, or President Bush or Clinton, depending on your party of choice, they ruined everything. Those job offers we were promised? The guaranteed salaries? Nowhere to be found. Instead, we graduated with a mountain of debt and moved right back home, albeit a likely smaller version of it. You made excuses about the economy being bad and rather than implore us to get jobs, you paid our bills and looked the other way. We tried pushing the “reset button” yet this is not a video game, it didn’t work. That 70k a year? You parents aren’t clearing that anymore, if you ever really did. Oh and we just fell off our parents insurance, because Republicans. You kept paying our bills and the excuses continued. Now you want us to be independent. We balked because we enjoy you paying for everything while we live our lives like any MTV star or Kardashian did. You then realized retirement was on hold due to you still paying your adult child’s bills. It’s ok though, you moved us out of the house, but you would still cover the rent for a year; which has turned into 3 years. You also pay all utilities because we says it isn’t fair that we pay. I have customers who continue to pay expenses for their child who is now married: car, rent, phone, cable, and insurance payments.
Worse yet, the ones who are somewhat independent go right back to your old bag of tricks when they don’t get their way. “I never got a bill!” “Yeah, I did pay it!” “No you’re wrong.” Fear not, dad and mom were there to bail you out again, so it continues. Then Christmas came (or your inspired word for “the Holidays”) and you spent the time with us sad that no son-in-law (or daughter-in-law) and grandkids were present. Again you went into helicopter mode. You made a million excuses and tried to convince us to get a partner. Our response, “I am looking.” You retort that we weren’t looking hard enough so you found one for us. Predictably, it didn’t work out and you blamed us. Still barely employed, you tried to get us to find some motivation…sorry. We rebelled against you. You told us this was a land of milk and honey, it wasn’t. We abandoned any values or ethics you thought you taught us…they, like the good paying jobs, are gone forever. You tried to instill discipline, but you failed. We haven’t heard the word “NO” before and, you unprepared, did not realize that like you, we mastered the art of excuse making and rhetoric. The student has become the master. You told us the government would handle our retirement but that prospect looks very bleak. You told us hard work pays off, that didn’t translate into a job. You showed us how to live a lie; however, that lifestyle isn’t available anymore. You filed bankruptcy and got a clean slate. We can file, but our student loans aren’t dischargeable (yet). Everything we were told ended up being untrue, so we now have a jaded view of just about anything, and now we are stuck.
You couldn’t understand why we voted for Obama in masse, or why we flock to Sanders, Warren or Booker, yet strayed far from Hillary. Truth is Obama represented a hope, everything you told us about, then he failed us, and he, just like you, fired up the excuses. We rebelled on Trump because he reminds us of the current you; someone angry with results and determined for to force a change. Harris, Warren and Sanders represent the values we want, no corporations, no debt, and no hard work, and the ultimate benefit, payback to your generation for the lies you told us.
For those of us who are married and with kids, you are likely still providing a roof over our heads and in most cases paying for everything else. You can’t understand why we don’t vaccinate our kids, but we point to obscure internet articles stating vaccinations cause autism, ignoring the grave history of measles, polio, and tetanus. But still you defend our position even though it is wholly without merit.
Concluding thoughts: While your descriptions and stereotypes are correct, fault lies with you. Harken back to the days of our youth when everyone was getting a trophy in their sports league, even though keeping score was looked upon unfavorably. Everyone was a winner, and even if we lacked the talent or ability, we were told how great and inspiring we were!
The seed was planted and later when we tried out for a high school team and inexplicitly got cut, devastation ensued. Remember when we got our first job and when told by a supervisor we made a mistake, again devastation, why is that? Because we were told our entire life how great of a job we did, and the word “no” never computed. So what if we were 20 minutes late…again. We are finding out the “real world” isn’t a TV show run on MTV when we were younger. Actions have consequences, things your parents shielded us from. You allowed us to hang out with like-minded friends, we got tattoos, we dyed our hair, we got piercings, etc. you said we were out of line but again no consequences. Remember when you went out for date night downtown, and you, act surprised that you had a waitress with pink hair, a bartender with many tattoos, and a nary a “normal looking” person to be found. Guess they has parents like you too.
The Chief tells his story next