Monday, November 7, 2016

Can We All Stop Dumping on Millennials?



It bothers me to hear so many people dumping on Millennials.

First, let's analyze what makes them so different. 

Most generational differences are a result of over-corrections on the part of the younger generation from the generation that's come before. In that sense, we've actually shaped Millennials.

Think about that. They're partially the way they are because they're over-correcting from our errors. 

Perhaps more Millennials are living at home longer not out of sheer laziness but because of the combined effects of the economic recession and mounting student debt. Perhaps their marriage rates are declining not solely because of an innate selfishness or a desire for unfettered autonomy but because many Millennials are personal victims of the disastrous divorces of the Boomers and Gen-Xers. Perhaps they're less politically engaged because they've witnessed the fundamental failure of politics to meet mankind's deepest needs. Some can't handle conflict and wrestle with deep, opposing ideas because helicopter parents over-protected them for too long, robbing them of vital opportunities to develop these skills.

On the list could go.

Yes, Millennials are over-correcting from the Boomers and Generations X and Y. And sure, some of those over-corrections probably aren't going to work out so well. But the fact remains that there's a reason why Millennials are the way they are.

Let's take some time to consider that before we mindlessly dump on them for their shortcomings.

Also, we need to acknowledge that Millennials might be succeeding in areas where we failed. In many cases, we were weak in certain areas because we were blind to the needs; if we're still blind to these needs, we're probably blind to the value Millennials bring to the table.

Finally, the main reason we need to stop dumping on Millennials is that there's really no room for this sort of behavior in biblically-based relationships--especially within the church. If a younger sister or brother in Christ is well-meaning but misguided (or even, to be fair, completely off-base), it's the responsibility of the elders to provide relationship-based mentoring, quietly and kindly offering one-on-one guidance. We can't do that if we haven't taken time to build relationships with one another; and I can't think of a worse way to lay a foundation for relationships than applying blanket generalizations on the younger generation and mocking them for their shortcomings.

Millennials aren't perfect, but neither is my generation, and neither is yours. 

As James reminds us, we all stumble in many ways.

Instead of dumping on each other for flaws and weaknesses, let's instead encourage each other in Christ as we press toward the mark.
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us (Philippians 3:12-17). 
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity (1 Timothy 4:12).
Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith (Hebrews 13:7).
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Photo Credit: 

By r.f.m II from Colora Maryland, United States (Self-Portrait #26) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

2 comments:

  1. What generation are you? I assumed that you were a millennial. ;) Every generation has placed heavy blame on the next generation. Every generation complains and groans about the next saying youth is wasted on the young and they have no respect and we are all going to hell in a handbasket because of it. The "Don't trust anyone over 30" crowd have children over 30. (I even hear my age-group starting to grumble about kids these days!) .. I don't pay it much mind..

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