There’s no shortage of media coverage painting my generation, millennials, as impatient, narcissistic, overly sensitive, and politically correct to the point of ridicule. They live with their parents and eschew hard work. In short, everything is getting worse.
I don’t necessarily think so. Here are five ways in which I believe millennials are actually better than previous generations.
1. They are more health-conscious. My generation reads nutrition labels more than any other before it. They choose healthier options at restaurants. They eat more greens and understand that unsaturated fats are not half as harmful as the bigger culprit for western dietary woes, sugar. There’s now a gym on nearly every corner, and it’s much less strange than it used to be to see a jogger or cycler passing on the road.
2. They’re more environmentally responsible. Millennials are choosing smaller living spaces and more fuel-efficient vehicles. They recycle more than previous generations and prefer more reusable materials such as wood and glass to disposable plastics.
3. They are less materialistic. The minimalism movement, despite its ridiculous offshoots, is one of the most needed culture shifts in Western society. My generation is beginning to understand less is more. We loathe clutter. In addition, online economies like eBay and craigslist make selling your used furniture or buying someone else’s bicycle easier than ever. It also increases giving, as almost all of my friend’s baby room furnishings for his soon-to-be-born daughter were given by church friends on Facebook.
4. They are more accommodating. If you think the 1950s were truly the good old days, I would challenge you to ask a female person of color or perhaps someone with a disabling medical condition. Consider the education system. As a former elementary school teacher, I can say that there is now more support than ever offered to refugees and immigrants who don’t know English. Also, I see a greater tendency toward supporting emotional health as getting counseling is becoming a much less stigmatized option for normal people. We all have issues, after all.
5. They look deeper when it comes to religion. Feel free to disagree with me on this. First, I do freely admit that a lower percentage of my generation attends any kind of weekly worship service than any generation before. True, but numbers don’t always tell the tale, in my opinion. Less people are going to church just to be seen there. My generation tends to avoid anything ritualistic unless it has substance. The ones I talk to who don’t attend church aren’t simply lazy; they are often thoughtfully processing what their faith means to them. The fewer young people that do attend, on the other hand, come because they are actually hungry for God. Pockets of the church are actually becoming more authentic.
What do you think? Is this generation going to hell in a hand basket? Or, are there more improvements I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments.