The world is in an interesting place on many fronts, including the transformation of an entire generation of millennials (18-34 years of age) and the kids who follow. While being credited for the technological shift in communication and media (going from printed newspapers and transistor radios to social media and cell phone cameras), one of the challenges today's millennials face is social and personal responsibility.
Academia has certainly contributed to what is now known as the "Cupcake Generation," a generation of young people who want their "cake and eat it too." They are being described as "self-centered narcissists" whose "mommies gave them everything they ever wanted," without any accountability or responsibility.
This is a generation where no one has to truly compete and in the end, everyone's a winner and medal recipient - all in favor of not hurting anyone's feelings, making anyone feel rejected or a "loser," and making sure everyone "feels" like he/she is a winner.
While this sounds good on the outside, it is detrimental to this generation. Adversity forges character. And while no one wants to go through challenges, let alone wish some of our experiences upon our children, we are raising a generation of wimpy, self-absorbed children, who believe they are victims when their feelings get hurt or their ideals questioned.
These are the same kids who barely pass high school, yet are given scholarships to institutions of higher learning, only to leave college $50K in debt with a worthless degree and no life skills. Many of them are forced to return home and live with their parents, simply because they are clueless as to how to survive on their own and compete with adversity.
Employers are struggling to hire a new generation of hard working, responsible, respectable, and professional work force simply because they hardly exist.
Parents who hand their children everything without cost or consequence have created this generation of entitled individuals who feel they don't need to contribute to society, but expect society to provide everything for them.
We see this in the growing number of people going on welfare and taking advantage of government assistance. One 24 year old, single mother with 3 kids, told a Chicago reporter, "Why should I go to work? I get free food, low rent housing, charity assistance, and free education and a monthly paycheck that is more than I would make working at McDonald's."
Without regard (let alone gratitude) to the hard-working taxpayers who ARE working and paying taxes so she can get all those benefits, this young woman is a fine example of what is wrong with the Cupcake Generation.
And parents are not the only ones at fault.
The government has increasingly aided in giving life to this generation's entitlement mentality by increasing welfare benefits, fostering a civil society of disrespect for elders, cops, military, and anyone who disagrees with their points of view. The Cupcake Generation is set up for failure and demise.
Technologically savvy, this generation is sadly void of interpersonal skills. Their so-called friends are nothing more than Facebook or Twitter acquaintances, with whom they communicate via online messengers and texts in the wee hours of the night. They are not prepared to have their feelings hurt or to be told "no," because they have been protected and pampered most of their lives.
Ask one of them, and they will deny their inability to carry out healthy relationships, hold a decent job for any period of time, or compete in the professional marketplace. Why? Because in their eyes, they have always been told how wonderful they are. They have always had everything handed to them for free. They feel they are victims in most circumstances and blame everyone else for their problems. They are vocal and opinionated, often without filter or tact, yet cry and pout when their own feelings suffer a blow.
While these are sobering and harsh realities for this generation, it is time they take responsibility for change. Instead of relying upon others, including the government, to take care of their needs and wants, this generation of millennials need to look at the generations before them.
Forged in the fires of adversity, men and women of the Greatest Generation (World War II and Depression survivors) knew how to survive and thrive in spite of their circumstances. They didn't have boxed Pillsbury cake mixes or prepackaged suppers. They didn't have robotic laundry facilities or microwaves for speedy cooking. Everything was done with laborious effort!
While I am all for technology and the amazing advancements made in that realm, I am also all for going back to the basics and teaching this generation what is truly important, such as interpersonal relationships with people who are not a virtual avatar on some social media account. Teaching our children how to actually take ingredients and make them into a meal rather than search the freezer for a frozen heat-n-go dinner, reading a book rather than being glued to an electronic device, and exploring artistic endeavors that enhance and foster talent rather than filling in a virtual coloring book on an iPad, are all so important to reversing some of the damage we have created with this generation.
What seemed like a means of protection and done with best intentions is now proving to be detrimental to their success. We are the generation who created this mess and we have to be the generation to correct it.
Here are a few tips to implement right away:
1. Have a technology fast - designate at least one day a week where everyone gives up technology. N