As a fifty-something mid-lifer and a very late Baby Boomer and very early Generation Xer, I frequently find myself in the company of those within ten or so years of my age. It amazes me how many in this age bracket believe I am predominantly like-minded and share many of the same philosophies and ideas they do. They feel free to share their thoughts as if our matching ages will somehow automatically synchronize our opinions.
Perhaps the most prominent area of my opinion departure from many of my contemporaries concerns the judgment of the younger generation, namely the “dreaded” Millennials.
There are so many negative judgments freely and casually dispersed upon the Millennials I cannot keep track. According to many of us old farts, the Millennials are -entitled, lazy, selfish, assholes, narcissistic, rude, obtuse, fill-in-the-blank, etc… so much so it is to the extent they are oblivious to the necessary cultural skill set to be effective in contemporary society.
Please. To borrow texting shorthand from my beloved Millennials, STFU old people.
Many of my contemporaries fail to realize it is THEY who have changed, not the 20-something generation.
Standpoint theory suggests that we are constantly viewing life from where we stand and that stance is in constant flux as we age, travel, learn, and well, just live and love. It would seem from listening to the old farts that the first thing to go as we age is memory.
Hey boomers and gen Xers, remember what it was like to be 20? Remember having no direction or idea where you were headed? Remember thinking the world revolved around you? Remember all the dumbass stuff you did that you would love to take back? Remember what it was like to occasionally feel alone and isolated? Remember what it was like to search for identity?
If you want to look at our Millennials and have any critique whatsoever, that critique must be about US and the world WE created for this young generation. Perhaps they are entitled because we handed out participation trophies and heaped praise where none was earned. In our quest to build self-esteem in our children we built false delusions of hope where there was none.
So, old farts, every time you open your mouth and criticize the kids today, you are criticizing yourself. We are the ones that raised this generation so, I suppose you can say, we, as a village, were bad parents.
Yet, alas, I do not believe the Millennials are entitled, lazy, selfish, assholes, narcissistic, rude, obtuse, fill-in-the-blank, etc… at least not any more than we were at that age.
I love Millennials. I love nearly everything about them. Sure they look at their phones a lot, though frankly, not much more on any given day than I, and probably you, do. A good friend of mine, Paul, a high school teacher in Reno, recently stated they had a faculty meeting specifically to address the concern of students and their cellphone use in class. He told me the meeting was a miserable failure as most of the faculty was continually staring down at their phone and not paying attention.
I love to bask in the energy of youth and entertain their curiousness and lust for life. I love speaking with my students who may share a “brand new” revelatory idea with zeal and enthusiasm, yet I do not have the heart to tell them this idea was around when I was in school. And why should I tell them? I want them to discover life on their terms, not to mention how many times I have fallen victim to the same thing….remember temporalcentrism?
But wait Millennials, you don’t get off so easy. This next paragraph is for you.
tbh u all can be just as guilty af of old fart disease, or in your case aka yung fart disease, smh. some of u like to complain about todays children being rude or sittin on their tablets during family dinnr. well, tablets r nuthin new as we had em in the 70s. we also would stare at r private screens at the kitchen table during dinnr. they were called etch-a-sketches. so dont be a old fart at a yung age, rofl
(Please notice I never defended the texting-caused bastardization of the English language of Millennials…but I digress).
Imagine if it was socially acceptable to marginalize entire groups of people based solely on a demographic. Oh, wait, we have. Over the years the powerful have marginalized blacks, Jews, gays, and the list goes on -we call them racists, homophobes and anti-semites. Why is it now ok to marginalize one group based entirely on age? In a weird way, it somewhat like reverse age-ism.
So, please, old farts, just in the same way my white friends will not secretly whisper to me the problem with “the blacks” simply because we share our whiteness, please do not bore me and reveal your ignorance with your stereotyped opinions of the youth today….just cause I am around your age. This criticism says far more about you and your ignorance than the youth and their “entitlements.”
Ily Millennials. And I suppose it would be good advice for ALL OF US, to take a break from our phones every now and then.
And STFU old farts. And be the AITR.
OK Jimmy…I felt I had to weigh in on this one. You are exposed to millennials all day, where most Baby Boomers aren’t. Many Baby Boomers think that Millennials eat Tide Pods, play video games and do dumb shit like that all day…
I won’t say all Millennials do stupid shit just as I can’t say all Baby Boomers don’t, the Baby Boomers have learned to do their stupid shit out of the public’s eye ( or we did the same stupid stuff they are doing now and learned from it).
I say let ’em make their mistakes, you learn more from your mistakes than your successes anyhow… Besides they have the Balls to stand up to the NRA and in my book that’s pretty cool…
Hi Craig…I love when you weigh in! Thank you. Perhaps many believe millennials eat Tide Pods and play video games all day, yet I do recall having a pet rock, playing pac man, and doing some really weird shit I refuse to write here when in my 20’s. It goes to memory…we just prefer to look at ourselves through the lens of our more refined and mature current self when we reflect…and conveniently forget the weird stuff. Thanks again Craig…please keep in touch.
As an 80 year old, I am not really a Baby Boomer, having been born “before” the “War” so will speak as an independent observer. I did no rebellious acts growing up, missed going to war in Vietnam, got a degree , worked for 38 years, retired, buried a wife, and am now “involved” with a sweet lady. During my growing up I have observed unbridled patriotism, fearfulness of oblivion (the Cold War) , unbridled rebellion during the Vietnam war, unbridled search for “freedom” during the “hippie” movement, political stability despite violent changes in the office of the President, etc, etc on up to the current bull shit going on in Washington. What puzzles me the most is what happened to all the “hippies”. How is it that those folks apparently just disappeared, or at least their ideals did. Why have they not sought leadership positions in industry and government to push their ideals? Or, are did they just become “Baby Boomers” and raise their kids to be the “Millenials” that will accomplish the achievement of their parents ideals? If that’s the case, “houston we have a problem” because the “Millenials” are independent thinkers and are attempting to change much more that their parents ever envisioned. I just wish I could be around to see all they can accomplish.
Don! I have not heard from you in a while. So pleased to take note you are still sticking with me through all my blog weirdness. I really think you are on to something and it truly has me thinking. “…did they just become “Baby Boomers” and raise their kids to be the “Millenials” that will accomplish the achievement of their parents ideals?” GREAT point! In a weird way, I was born too late to be a TRUE hippie, yet still share many of the same hippie sentiments as I watched them growing up and it had a profound influence on my thinking and subsequent parenting. I think you are spot on…I most definitely raised my four children in “hippie” ideals though I was not truly one (unless you could of been a 6 year-old hippie in 1969). These are contemporary hippies with a strong dusting of entitlement…they do not see themselves as counter-cultural like the 60’s version did, which really supports your point. The Millennials are so damn unconventional and, like you, am eager to see them work their magic in the years to come. You may exit the planet before me, though I will be sure to fill you in when our energies collide once again. Thank you so much for the response. I deeply respect and admire your perspective.
This was a very good read. I must say that even I, at the age of 30, feel all those stereotypes to be true for most millennials I meet. I hate going out with my wife’s coworkers and their 22 year old boyfriends. I have a better time talking to her 30 year old coworkers about what is going on at their job than listening to them talk about how much the new Jordans are going to be next weekend. I mean they can’t talk about anything not related to the Kardashians, much less hold a decent conversation about sports or politics.
Hey, I remember life at that age. I remember working, traveling and a lot of partying. However, it was all earned, see how work came first? I know there are many out there working but many aren’t. If these girls wouldn’t let those 22 year guys mooch of them, they would not have been there. Now I hate to use my own sister as an example, but she just turned 22 on the 10th. She has never had a job, doesn’t have a car or even a driver’s license. I am very relieved that she doesn’t eat tide pods or fall to any of those other fads that are going around.
Yes, I disagree with the trophies for everyone and no child left behind. Yes, bullies are bad but they are around at all ages. Who is going to protect a 28 year old guy from the guy at the office talking about his bowl cut or single life? School when we’re young is where we get our social defense skills.
There are some younger people that have very good heads on their shoulders and I must say that it comes from very good parenting, and as a father myself I can say that is no easy task.
Now that I have my rant out I will say this. You have opened my eyes and given some enlightening information that I am glad I recieved. It is something that I will try to remember when the next idiotic fad comes around. Probably snorting lines of clorox and spitting blue loogies.
OMG! An old fart at the young age of 30! Old fart disease does not know gender, age, or income. It is an equal opportunity disease. 😉
I feel that I am going to enjoy being that old geezer yelling at kids to keep their pants up and complain that music was better when I was younger. “Ah don’t mind him, that’s just old man Vic.”
Hey Jimmy! I really love this blog post. It was so relevant to me as a millennial. I wish i could disagree with you here but i can’t. You’ve made a fair observation, both the older generation and the younger generations have their biases! I just want to add i don’t believe all millennials embody a certain set of traits or characteristics. I feel like we’ve gotta to a point in society where we treat the term millennials as though it’s gene that us young people are born with lol.
The “old farts” go around labeling us young adults like being in a certain age group is a disease….”Oh, These kids they’re such millennials.” It makes no sense to me. Anyways, awesome article jimmy!
PS: Thanks for being an awesome professor! Appreciate the things you’ve taught me man. Hope to stay in contact. 🙂
Thanks AJ! And I think college is worth every penny 😉
This blog entry stood out the most to me. I find myself agreeing with much of, mostly because of what I see on social media. Boomers like claim the younger generation as spoiled and entitled without seeing their own sense of entitlement. A meme I saw on facebook recently said “after high school, kids should be drafted and required to serve for 2 years, like and share if you agree.” Of course this meme was shared by someone who looked like they were in their sixties, which would put them out of the running to be included in a draft. What I thought was, since when are you entitled to my body for your protection and preconceived fears? And since when are all millenials and gen-z’ers all spoiled and entitled? If we all are spoiled and entitled, where did we get that from? Entitlement is a learned attitude that’s been passed on since the dawn of civilized society. To add to my argument that not all millenials are entitled, I’d like to use my own life experience. I moved out of my parents house at the age of 19 after I enlisted in the Air Force. I bought my first car with my own money. Once I was able, I got my own apartment with a friend, paid my own bills, and fended for myself, all while asking for nothing from my parents or elders, because i knew I was stubborn enough to make it on my own. Now I own my own house and bought a 2nd car. I know there are people my age that still live at home (I’m 27 now) and complain about their parents rules and all that. To which I say to them, if you don’t like it, act your age, put on your big boy/girl pants and move out. And to you boomers who think all millenials are lazy pieces of crap…. shut the f*** up and look at your own sense of entitlement.
Hi Jimmy! I really enjoyed reading this blog post, especially because I’m a millennial. I agree with you that both younger and older generations have their growing up and making mistakes time period. We’re all not perfect and regret things we have done, but we learn and grow from our mistakes. Look forward to learning more from you (:
Good reading here, this topic is of great interest to me since I work, with young boys and girls from high school. I see all the stereotype listed here in classrooms. It’s amazing how some kids do not even have the slightest respect, to even look at your face to hear some warning or guidance. It is like nobody is there, they may feel having the time of their life by ignoring you and they think its funny. I saw kids in lecture with their Chromebooks on videogames or YouTube channels watching nonsense, with their headphones on music all the way, and also texting. I just feel worry for those kids I always hope that there is a moment of lucidity and that they can enter to the game of their life so that they do not suffer so much in the transition to the adulthood. On the other hand, I have seen this other group of young people very well raised, with values, show respect to the teacher, and responsible for their obligations as students with a clear vision of what they want from life. They are like almost adults heading for success. There is also this other group in the middle which we do not know much, but as I have seen, they are people who fight harder to achieve their purpose. Even those kids who “eat Tie Pods” have dreams and I wish the best for them. The question is, what else can we do as their temporary counselors to help them open that door that they could open themselves if they wanted? Besides all the crap they are living through High School I have high expectations from this generation. I believe this kids are fit for greatness.
Mr. Jimmy! I found myself laughing to myself while reading this. As serious of a topic as it is and how often we millennials get bashed i love how you pointed out what we millennials are guilty of. I kept imagining you typing that paragraph with all the texting slang in it. I found it quite humorous to imagine you possibly consulting one of your classes on the best slang terms you should throw in that and maybe just how hard it was to write something with such deteriorating english! I thoroughly enjoyed this entire article. I really look forward to reading future posts from you. You have such an open perspective of things that you don’t normally see in “old farts” (;
Thanks for a wonderful semester Mr. Jimmy! Thanks for the interesting read!