Friday, May 30, 2014

Commencement season: Time to pile on Millennials

Ever since the 2012 "you are not special" commencement speech at Wellesley High School went viral among conservatives, it has become fashionable among some to browbeat young millennials, who are supposedly the most self-centered generation in American history (after the Baby Boomers), into pessimistic realism.

There is some truth and good intentions in all this parental "tough love," but the fact that it's coming from the same parents who, up to commencement time, coddled and molded said millennials is a bit odd, to say the least, if not downright hypocritical.  

Yet it's just about what you'd expect from the (formerly) most self-centered generation in American history -- to blame their children for being "deluded" instead of blaming themselves for deluding them.  

I mean, these kids didn't raise and praise themselves.  The same helicopter parents who have told these students for years they were so special are now back-lashing against... themselves?... and telling these kids that their days of awards and assistance falling from the sky are over with??

(I strongly suspect that the awards/honors/praise allegedly bestowed on Millennials is way overblown. There is always a bell curve, and somebody is always more praiseworthy or praised than somebody else. Hence the law of averages tells us that most kids probably never got any awards or accolades for anything. So I suspect but cannot prove that a lot of this anti-millennial rhetoric is directed at the socio-economic cream of the millennial generation from the cream of the Baby Boomers. The question is, why are Boomers suddenly reversing themselves? One theory is that they see our post-Great Recession economic reality and want to quickly steel their children to be ready for it, while avoiding taking any responsibility for the housing bubble, rising student debt, youth unemployment and Great Recession upon themselves. As for the non-cream, it's a convenient pre-emptive excuse by the ruling Boomers for the historically bad troubles that youngin's are graduating into: they are too coddled and cocksure to successfully take on the "real world" awaiting them.  But I digress....) 

Fine.  I for one give today's kids enough credit that they'll figure the real world out on their own without adults' piling on to their economic-demographic burden, a burden they didn't ask for or create themselves. Young grads today have the added advantage of having seen their parents' successes -- and failures -- hopefully to duplicate the former and avoid the latter.

By Alexandra Petri
May 21, 2014 | Washington Post

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