A fairly recent article in Time and a bunch of other follow-ups all tell us the obvious: Millennials are not only generally helpless and incompetent, we are also more full of ourselves than an Ouroboros. Two statistics should suffice to sketch the dismal picture:
- Millennials (ages 18–30) are far more likely than members of previous generations to be unemployed and living with their parents. More than a third are living at home. Which is pretty sad.
- Millennials are also far more likely to have Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Taken together, these statistics indicate that in spite of the fact that my generation has very little to be proud of, we are prouder of ourselves and more self-focused than any generation that has come before us.
And if you think we’re bad… Oh my. You should see the generation of cream-puff miscreants following us. They are aptly termed “Generation Z,” if by “Z” you mean “zombie.”
I don’t know exactly how to react to all of these statistics concerning my generation. Part of me wants to say, “That may be true generally, but that’s not me.” But I know that’s what most of my generation is probably saying. And we can’t all be in the clear.
It’s also the case that every generation voices extreme concern about the generation rising up after it. And perhaps the most recent generations have been even less willing to pass the baton. The rise of multi-generational homes speaks to this. Why don’t Baby Boomer and Gen X parents just boot their kids out of the nest? I don’t know. But they’re not doing anyone any favors.
I used to be a high school teacher and my experience, and the experience of my colleagues, was that parents were the biggest obstacle to their own children’s growth and responsibility. Whereas teachers used to be directed to produce educated children with skills and discipline, now our job was to provide supervision, self-esteem, and unearned credentials. If we did not provide these things, we were hounded by whining parents and harangued by school administrators. In other words, it doesn’t surprise me that a huge number of Millennials are living with their parents without jobs.
I wanted to warn parents: “What do you think is going to happen when your child goes to college or applies for a job? Do you think a college professor is going to care if you complain about your child’s workload? Do you think an employer is going to happily receive your excuses for your kid’s inadequate performance? No. As soon as your kid hits the adult world, he will fail. And you have actually set him up for failure. And your safety net will not be big enough to catch him. He’ll be right back in your house, and he’ll just keep failing until he learns that discipline is more important than self-esteem and hard work means more than raw talent.” Most parents don’t want to hear it. This is just one facet of the national problem. But if it’s not fixed soon, it is unlikely our country will survive as we once knew it.