I want to tell you about my generation. I was born in ’82, which puts me at the front edge of the generation known as the Millennials. We are known for a great number of things, from ingenuity to a very different view of the world. The truth is, we really aren’t so different from other generations that have come before us with big dreams, and a drive to accomplish them. Our parents and grandparents dared us to dream of a world that we would want to live in, a world where hate diminished, and people flourished. This is not some crazy utopia, but a world that can exist. Then we were told, “If you don’t like the world the way it is, then be the change you want to see.” So, here we are. We aren’t quite as put together as we might like, but we are moving forward with the dream inspired by those who have gone before us. Let me tell you a bit more about this generation of dreamers.
We are a generation that is as needed as we are in need. We have been inspired by the last “Greatest Generation” to believe that we can pull through anything, and called to dream of the heights of what might be possible. We have been told that we could be and do anything, and we have taken that very seriously. Some look at our generation and see only slouches, others see a generation that is reaching for the stars. As much as we have been inspired by those who have come before us, we have also been hurt by them. We have been left with the scars of the “sexual revolution”. We have grown up in single parent homes, and have been introduced to many scandalous things by preceding generations.
Our young men have struggled to know what it is to be a man, leaving us reeling for a sense of proper masculine definition. Many of us had no father in the household to teach us, and for many who did, the drive for success tore them away. As a result, many of our young men have found themselves stuck in the juvenile state of mind. This has put our young women at risk in many ways. Our young women have had a cacophony of voices shouting at them from various directions. Some say that they must be independent strong women. Others shout that they must stay at home as older generations have. Still others call them in the direction of material things, or sex, or looks. Our young women, as is also true with our young men, are seen more and more as objects, than people. We have become numbers to those selling goods and services. We are told what to be, whether a successful professional or a entitled consumer. We are seldom asked who we are, at least not in earnest. I am convinced that this is because those who came before us found themselves being called to be a something. In fact, I remember as a kid being asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
This idea of being something, not someone, does not work well with many Millennials. If you ask us what what are, we are likely to answer with some form of “I am a who, not a what”, or “I am a person”. We have seen the damage done by thinking in terms of people as object, a means to an end, and we reject that notion. We have seen greed and selfish desire do terrible things to ourselves and others. We have watched as people have glutted themselves on the many excesses that a first world country can provide, and we are trying to tear away from it.
I won’t say that we are without direction, because that is false. Instead, I will say that we are trying to figure out how to get to where we believe we ought to be. That is a place without personal excess, a place of mutual respect, and a place of caring for one another. We don’t hate the preceding generations, in fact we are grateful for the passion and direction that we have been given by them, through the good and bad. I can’t tell you where we will end up, but I can tell you this much: we are moving forward to a future that we see to be brighter than the past we know. We are already starting to become leaders in many ways, but we need the encouragement and trust of those who have come before. So I ask you to trust in us, dream with us, help us to make the world better tomorrow than it is today.