You know what millennials need? They need the Lord! Seriously, He is the Great Physician, He heals. Whatever it is we wrestle with, there is nothing too big, nothing too heavy for Him. He can fix everything and hand us beauty for our ashes.
I am such a pragmatist sometimes as in, suck it up buttercup and move on. You see the friction between my generation and the younger ones sometimes. A lot of people my age grew up under some really tough conditions, so we’re survivors, pragmatists. Tough cookies. Enter special snowflakes, participation trophies, and entitlement, and it’s enough to drive some of us to our fainting couch.
As if to say, WTH is wrong with all you people? Sorry kids, but that really is how a lot of older people feel. That is probably how older people have felt since the dawn of time.
The millennial narrative can be helpful in understanding culture, in how the upbringing of your generation has shaped you, in trying to understand what is broken and how one might need to adapt and renew their mind. There is an underlying message here, a paradox really, in the sense that if one suffers from the plagues of the modern world, low self-esteem, inability to form deep relationships, envy, entitlement, self loathing, technology, it is not your fault, you are not alone, you are a product of your environment and culture. However, it is totally your fault in the sense that you now have an obligation and a responsibility to figure it all out and stop blaming the narrative. You get to own it. “I am a millennial” is not a disorder, it is not a curse, it is not a label one must now wear forever.
I almost think the millennial narrative itself speaks to the nature of the problem,to our bad parenting so to speak. Here we are telling millennials, you got a bum deal, you were a victim of bad parenting ideas, your very psyche was damaged by too many participation trophies. You are a victim, a helpless product of your culture and upbringing. You were permanently damaged by your parent’s excessive love for you. Wahhhh….
Than we cluck- cluck about creating spiritual weakness and how we’ve totally ruined an entire generation with our softness. Sheesh.
Here is what I know from walking through some dark places, you are not the labels people place on you. You are not your circumstances. You are not your upbringing. And you are not a victim. There are no excuses, no exceptions, no lamenting, “I got a bum deal.” Yeah, just like billions of other people on the planet. Your misery and suffering is not special.
Those perfect people you see on TV and social media are NOT real. “Real” is messy and broken and vulnerable, and downright ugly and embarrassing sometimes.
I think the changes within our culture are complex, as in we cannot lay all the blame at the feet of bad parenting or mediated reality or culture or entitled workers…or non workers. There is a whole lot more to the story. 1982-84, coined as the start of the millennials, was also the first real burst of technology. Hollywood, the entertainment industry, went off the rails. Huge economic shifts happened. Public schools changed, prayer stopped, discipline went out the window. There was a falling away from the church. Authority began to be perceived as a negative, divorce became very popular, our family court system exploded. “The world” began raising children, as parental authority and family authority was really undermined.
The world was a total train wreck prior to 1982, so even that is not special. There’s an old Billy Joel song that comes to mind, “We Didn’t Start The Fire.” It’s true, the place was already in shambles when we arrived. There really is no such thing or place as, “the good old days,” no matter when in history you are born.
That erosion of authority is an issue I see as a real problem all across our culture. Our natural laws and structure, our foundations upon which we build our lives, have been seriously undermined, attacked, and tilted. Again, that is not special, as in all generations have wrestled with issues around authority. But the real harm, the unfortunate card that has been dealt to so many millennials is that they believe they are under their own authority, that they answer only to their own selves. That concerns some of us old folks because alone, separated from the flock, not under anyone else’s protection and supervision, you become vulnerable, weak, like a lamb that has strayed off from the herd, also known as wolf-food.
Suicide. Drug addiction. Self abuse. Aimlessness. Depression. A lack of purpose.
Here’s a video I have mixed feelings about, but it’s good in the sense that it does highlight some issues and some problems that millennials might face, some ideas about how we go forward.
Just one comment on the title, “a generation of weakness.” The world doesn’t give a crap if you are weak or strong, it’s coming after you. The tougher you are, the harder you fall. Don’t heap “weakness shame” upon yourself. The Apostle Paul, a tough guy if ever there was one, taught us the truth about weakness “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.“
Weakness can be a beautiful thing, in that it teaches you to recognize your own limitations and to come to terms with the fact that you are not always the One in control. And that is what makes us strong.