Our three adult children were born between 1975 and 1979, respectively, placing them in the millennial generation. My Boomer husband and I carry them in our hearts constantly, as do all parents of every generation.
But as I survey the world we live in with all its troubles, escalating violence and changing social mores, I feel compelled to share my perspective. Here’s hoping some of my thoughts resonate with you.
First, some background.
Overall, the earliest proposed birthdate for Millennials is 1976 and the latest 2004. Given that a familial generation in developed nations lies somewhere between 25 and 30 years, we might reasonably consider those the start and end points.¹
Millennial statistics (Source: Pew Research):
- 50 percent of Millennials consider themselves politically unaffiliated.
- 29 percent consider themselves religiously unaffiliated.
- They have the highest average number of Facebook friends, with an average of 250 friends vs. Generations X’s 200.
- 55 percent have posted a selfie or more to social media sites versus 20 percent of Generation X.
- 8 percent of Millennials claim to have sexted, whereas 30 percent claim to have received sexts.
- They send a median of 50 texts a day.
- As of 2012, only 19 percent of Millennials said that, generally, others can be trusted.
- There are about 76 million Millennials in the United States (based on research using the years 1978-2000). (Another source reports 80 million)
- Millennials are the last generation born in the 20th century.
- Twenty percent have at least one immigrant parent. ²
We don’t always understand you or your parenting style, but we try. We need to take responsibility for some of the helicoptering we did, too much praise given and excessive material possessions. While our parents didn’t hesitate to give us their opinion on everything, we hold back more than you realize. Wisdom has taught us to hold our tongue until asked.
We admire your confidence, your joie de vive and adventuresome spirits. Your stories are entertaining and we live vicariously through you.
We applaud your successes and cry at night thinking of your failures. We’d love to spare you disappointment, but this is your journey. Just as we learned from our mistakes, so must you. It builds resilience, a character quality of successful people. We pray for you and our grandchildren more than you’ll ever know. Now you do.
Please don’t discard our suggestions on parenting, society or business as passé or outdated. Look at our successes and achievements – we did much right despite our hippy ways.
Some of our past mistakes we’ve hidden from you, but when we feel safe from judgment, we’ll share them. I remember learning about your grandmother’s marriage at 18 that was subsequently annulled in 1936. I was shocked at first, but as I grew older, it made me appreciate her humanity. She went onto marry the love of her life three years later in 1939. It turned out for the best for everyone. Realizing that your parents were young once is a sign of maturity. We want you to be compassionate and empathetic people.
In closing, we urge you to throw out the garbage in your childhood and hang onto the good. Learn to forgive those who betray you. It will eat you up inside if you don’t, growing into bitterness. Life can be hard, cruel people won’t stop being born and we want you to be one who rises above it.
Just because you don’t share our religious beliefs or biblical foundation, don’t be in a rush to trash it. It works for us. Kindly extend us some of that famous tolerance.
Thanks for listening. We love you!