In this article, I will discuss a common problem today among young people, the “millennials.” In it I will be tough on them; however, this is because I care about them and want them to succeed as strong and virtuous young men. So, fasten your seatbelts! Trigger warning: Snowflakes will be offended.
Tom is a recent college graduate. After college, he moved back home with his parents and found an entry-level position with a local company. However, aside from work, Tom spends much of his time in his parents’ basement playing video games, viewing Internet pornography, and texting. Although he likes going to clubs on weekends with his buddies, he does not date. He stopped going to church when we went away to college. Tom’s parents are worried about his future, but are at a loss as to what to do.
I often hear stories like this from concerned parents. There seems to be an epidemic of young people who lack direction or ambition to make something of their lives. What has happened to millennials? The answer I believe is in the parenting they received. These young people have parents who love them very much and wanted the best for them. However, in pursuing this goal, they overindulged their children. These kids never knew failure. They rarely heard the word “no.” In striving to protect their self-esteem, these kids participated in sports leagues where everyone received a trophy and in school their grades were inflated. None of this really prepared them for life. Instead, we ended up extending their adolescence well into their 20s.
The result of this is a generation that doesn’t know how to deal with failure or adversity, and they often have a weak work ethic. They don’t understand that upon graduating college, their first job will not be an executive position, and they will probably be doing “grunt work” and earning “peanuts” for several years before their careers begin to take off. They see this as a great injustice. They are the “snowflakes.” Instead of facing the world head-on with all its challenges, they drop out and consume their lives with video games, pornography, the Internet and social media.
Now, luckily not everyone falls into this category. If you’re not one of these millennials, congratulations! You’ve grown up. If you are one of these millennials, it’s time to toughen up. If you are over 18, neither your parents nor life owe you anything. Life has been given to you, so you are the one in debt, the own that owes the world. You need to go out into the world and create a successful life for yourself. This will not happen in your parent’s basement. Adolescence ended at 18. You are now an adult. You need to act like an adult. There are no “safe spaces” or “trigger warnings” in the real world. Out in the real world, you will face adversity and failure. You need to be able to face them and learn from them. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You will gain much wisdom from them and they will lead you on the path to success.
The best way to deal with the challenges of the real world and succeed in it is to embrace God’s mission for all men: to become a strong and virtuous leader, provider, and protector. Striving to meet this goal daily will help you mature into the man God created you to be. You will be admired by your employer and coworkers. You will have a strong work ethic. You will be able to work well independently and with others. This will overflow into your personal life where you will have healthier relationships. Ultimately it will lead you to grow in virtues such as faith, hope, love, trustworthiness, compassion, courage, loyalty, kindness, etc. People will see you as a mature, responsible young adult with good leadership qualities. This is what will lead to success!
(For parents, it’s important to remember that we don’t raise children. We raise adults. Young adulthood is not a time to be easy on your kids. Remind them daily that they are deeply loved, but you want to love them as an adult and not a boy – they are no longer adolescents. Demand they live and act like mature, responsible, and virtuous adults. It may take some tough love, but in the end, you and your kids will be grateful.)