A Millennium of Millennials

A millennium is quantified as a thousand years. I have heard 1,000 miles of words on the up and coming- somewhat arrived- generation called “Millennials”. Do not take this statement as a negative attitude toward the “Millennial” generation. I do love the younger generations and their potential and motivation is starting to show huge returns on impacts, in all arenas, for the future. Every generation finds a designation.

From “Baby Boomers” and “Flower Children” to the “Me Generation” and “Generation X”- every generation older than the 1940’s (and the “Flappers” had their time)- has had to carry forth the torch with something to define their “code of age” for other generations. I have found this labeling is not just an identity symptom, but that it can also be a tool, a weapon, and a crisis point. Older generations try to define the generations beneath them. With Millennials, much of the popular literature shows that Millennials “have what it takes” and should be “correctly encouraged”. There is nothing wrong with that personification. However, I would caution that Millennials should stake their own claims for their generation and not just ride high on descriptions from the media and images molded to fit.

As with every generation, there will be high profile key players that start to “represent” the Millennials’ signature values and achievements. I would caution every older generation to be wary of this when dealing with Millennial age individuals. Millenials know who they are; they are developing their own contributions; we have no right to tell them who to be. On the other hand, we have defined our own generations from before and those generations are not finished. I feel a peace is needed in pursuing the future together.

As generation succeeds generation, there is a gradual transfer of responsibilities and needs for the generations to come. This passing of the torch is not always easy. Respect is a two way street and the Millennials in society today have shown they have a human respect for others. There are quite a few generations before the Millennials still in play. I believe each of these generations comes outfitted with different needs and points of view. Focusing on one or two generations loses the wealth and wisdom inherent in each progressive decade’s people that have made their contributions. It is my hope that instead of erasing one another, the Millennials and generations still in play in society will move forward in a way that preserves what came before while opening up the potential of the developments and achievements in the years to come.

The next thousand years will come quicker than we knew. Millennials will have an impact that reaches further than most. Segregation of this impact from the influences from generations before is not possible. Millennials are going to make their own mark as well. It is a difficult task, but summing up the past to travel into the future is not possible unless we all walk the paths toward tomorrow together.

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