I met Amber, 20, and Luke, 19, at a bookstore recently. They’re from a small Hoosier town near the Ohio border and they were gracious enough to give me their take on a few questions I posed.
Millennials seem to get a bad rap. Although no two individuals are alike, the general consensus is millennials are lazy, uninformed, and they think they’re entitled. How do you debunk that stereotype?
Amber — “I think it all starts at home. My parents are my role models and they instilled in me morals and the value of hard work. I’m constantly humbled by what I have been blessed with. It’s a pretty embarrassing stereotype, but I do not feel I should be identified simply by the generation in which I was born, but rather by my actions and personality.”
Luke — “Although I do not support stereotypes or prejudice, there is usually a sliver of truth behind them. We are seen as lazy, uninformed, and we think we are special and entitled. From where does this description arise? Sadly, it’s from our actions and it’s something we need to work on.”
What’s your take on the 2016 Presidential Election?
Amber — “I think this is an election like none before. Donald Trump is a very outspoken man. This can be both beneficial in the sense of relating to the American public, by not being a typical politician, but it has also gotten him in trouble because he doesn’t put a filter on first. As for Hillary Clinton, the biggest hold back would be the controversy regarding the confidential emails to her personal devices and her deletion of them. I think it will be difficult for Americans to back someone who has committed such crimes against their country.”
Luke — “We have reached the point where it seems like nobody is voting for someone, but everybody is voting against someone else. This is tragic, because it means that we do not have a candidate that anybody actually wants or trusts to be our next President of the United States.”
Do you think a lack of respect plagues many millennials? If so, where do the roots of this degenerative attitude come from?
Amber — “I think the roots of this degenerative attitude comes from our increased use of social media. It’s a lot easier to make rude comments when you are typing it on a computer screen rather than having to look the person in the eyes. We are more often occupied by the virtual people on the screen than by the real people sitting across the dinner table from us.”
Luke — “There were rebels that showed disrespect in other generations. I think disrespect plagues my generation just as much as it does any other.”
Your Parents generation are called “Baby Boomers” and your grandparents are called “The Greatest Generation.” What’s your take on those individuals?
Amber — “I have mowed my grandparents’ lawn for ten years and always plan time to spend talking with them afterwards and drink the root beer they never forget to offer. This summer was different. It was filled with stories from my Grandfather who recounted the times he went down to Texas to pick cotton and the very first night of his honeymoon and my Grandmother got homesick. It was during these times that I suddenly realized I knew very little about the people I loved. I could not be more thankful for the Parents God has blessed me with. I definitely attribute my character and values to being molded by my Parents.”
Luke — “As I see it, ‘The Greatest Generation’ probably criticized ‘The Baby Boomers’ for being lazy, uninformed, and thinking they’re special and entitled. Now, ‘The Baby Boomers’ are criticizing us. It’s a vicious cycle.”
Has technology been a blessing or curse to millennials? Has that technology blurred personal and social skills in individuals?
Amber — “I see technology as being both a blessing and a curse. I substitute teach in my hometown and I understand teachers want to incorporate the positive aspects of technology as learning mechanisms, but some days I feel like I‘m just moving kids from one screen to the next and they’re losing the interaction with others and learning the social skills that will be needed later on in life to be successful.”
Luke — “We’re all moving towards a more technological age; we just need to be smart about it and use it responsibly.”
Patriotism is generally steeped in history. Are such things of interest to you?
Amber — “Patriotism is of great interest to me and I would hope to my generation as a whole. I believe it’s very important that we understand that God is our leader. I read on a church sign recently, ‘In order for a nation to get back on her feet, her people need to get down on their knees.’ That resonated with me. Patriotism involves being proud of who you are and the nation that you are a part of.”
Luke — “I find history and government fascinating. However, there is always more to learn and I think that these are subjects that all Americans should know more about.”
As an American, what’s important to you?
Amber — “Freedom is the first word that comes to mind. It’s important to me that people are reminded that freedom isn’t free. My brother is currently serving our country. I think Americans take for granted the tremendous amount of freedoms and blessings we have as a country. Our ancestors journeyed many miles from what was familiar and fought many battles to establish the amazing country that we have today.”
Luke — “Trying to secure ‘The American Dream.’”
What would you like my readers to know?
Amber — “There are many occasions where I wish I had grown up in the 60s or 70s with less technology and more written letters and late nights playing cards with friends and family.”
Luke — “Let us be who we are.”
Greg Allen’s column, Thinkin’ Out Loud, has been published bi-monthly since 2009. He’s an author, nationally syndicated columnist and the founder of Builder of the Spirit in Jamestown, Indiana, a nonprofit organization aiding the poor. He can be reached at www.builderofthespirit.org or follow him on Twitter @GregAllencolumn.