I’ll tell you what the problem is, today. It’s these darn kids.
Remember when 18-year-olds stormed the beaches of Normandy? Now they’re eating Tide pods and crying about safe spaces. America’s really gone to hell, hasn’t it? And it’s all because of these dirty millennials and their everyone-gets-a-trophy attitude!
At least, that’s according to popular opinion on Facebook. I have an account there because I think it’s an important part of being involved with the local community. But I’d delete the thing in a heartbeat if I didn’t have to have it. Facebook tells people what they want to hear so they’ll like and share more. It even tracks how conservative or liberal you are so it can feed you more of the stuff you agree with. Hard-to-swallow pills are a rare find.
There are 18 year olds today who are fighting overseas, nary a Tide pod, fidget spinner or Starbucks latte in sight. Whiners were crying for safe spaces in the 1950s, too.
I was a part of the first everyone-gets-a-trophy generation. I recall one year in Little League suddenly everyone was getting them instead of just the league champion. Not a single child demanded this, though. Who called for the trophies, then? It was the same parents complaining about millennial entitlement that were the ones demanding their unathletic baby get a shiny participation pat on the back.
The Tide pod garbage isn’t the first time a generation has collectively done something stupid, either. The people using that as evidence of this generation’s failure are from the generation known for paying their taxes with iTunes gift cards. Nothing about human nature is fundamentally any different today than it has ever been.
But these kids and their darn cell phones, right? That’s what’s really ruining our millennials. Zombie faces buried in devices, their cold dead eyes fixed on a lifeless screen that’s killing our ability to truly communicate. Surely, for the first time in human history, we are faced with technology ruining our youth. Here’s a quote from a respected philosopher on the subject:
“Cell phones will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves. They will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality.”
Except that was Socrates talking not about cell phones, but about this new invention called “writing.” Around 2,500 years ago, he lamented how the “millennials” of that day were relying on the written word as a crutch instead of using good-old-fashioned memorization like he did when he was growing up in a right proper generation.
A few hundred years before Socrates, another philosopher named Hesiod had this to say about those darned kids: “They only care about frivolous things. When I was a boy, we were taught to be discrete and respectful of elders. But the present youth are exceedingly ... impatient of restraint.”
Life Magazine complained about the baby boomer generation in a 1968 article titled “The Generation Gap.” Newsweek in 1986 wrote an article on generation X becoming self-obsessed and narcissistic due to this new invention called the video camera.
Sounds a lot like the stuff I hear people say about millennials on Facebook today. So maybe the problem isn’t this awful up-and-coming generation. Or technology. Maybe people have always been people.
And maybe dividing ourselves into subgroups so we can smack-talk rival subgroups is what’s really wrong with every generation.
“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun,” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).