Hope in the Millennials & What They Can Teach Us

I know its fall and we’re all over summer now, but I have a rant about one of my favorite summer events, and I can’t contain myself. Grab you pumpkin-spiced-whatever and humor me for a minute.

I watched this summer’s Olympics with the same patriotism and fanatical zeal that most of us did, but we all know there were some embarrassing events that made us cringe this year. Without naming names, I’ll say that it involved athletes from that generation we call “the Millennials.” Now I’ve had a lot of critical things to say about Millennials - my sons are Millennials, and all their friends. I watch this generation as they take their time meandering through their coursework, exasperating authority by questioning the value or wording of rules, putting off the responsibilities of adulthood until they are hard pressed into it. They are making employers nutty with their need for affirmation and desire for coaching even in the simplest of tasks. They never seem to have any money, but are always going places and doing things, when they should be saving up.

It leaves my husband and me scratching our heads, wondering if we went wrong somewhere. We have a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps/ never let ‘em see you cry” outlook, and we rehash the facts that our blood, sweat and tears had us driving cars we bought with our own money at 16, management positions in fast food at 17, and honor roll grades throughout. Our kids and their group listen, pat us on the head and say, “That’s too bad man. Sounds like no fun.” What?? No fun? Who said anything about fun? Now is the time to press in, work hard, and don’t make any of the mistakes we made!

I look to the Olympians to show this generation the value of hard work. I want to compare these obviously superior kids to those kids. No, that’s not true…I want these kids to compare themselves to Olympians, feel inferior, and suddenly embrace the work ethic I wish they had. Hmm….I’m beginning to see why maybe Millennial kids might not want to embrace my point of view.

In all the interviews with young athletes, the Gen X interviewers ask questions like, “Did you feel vindicated by your gold medal after people said you probably wouldn’t medal at all? How are you handling this immense pressure? What does it feel like to be on the podium, knowing you are the best in the whole world?” The athletes get this quizzical expression, like they are not sure how to feel about these questions, and say things like, “I was just enjoying the moment. I did it like I do every day in practice. This is an amazing experience and I wanted to take it all in.” Simone Biles, after faltering on the balance beam and falling to Bronze in the individual competition, was asked her reaction to making a major mistake. She said, “I never really make that mistake doing that routine so I can’t be too hard on myself.” What?! Where is the devastation? The agony of defeat? A MISTAKE WAS MADE! Yet, she giggles and winks and waves like she’s having the time of her life.

Maybe this generation is getting something right. Jesus didn’t spend a lot of time lecturing us in how, exactly, to live our lives. He said things like, love each other, take care of those in need, don’t waste your time worrying, have faith, and stuff will work out. Basically, the attitude of most Millennials.

My kids don’t often have money because they are crazy generous. Their kitchens aren’t spotless because on their day off they hiked a mountain and watched a sunset. And maybe some rules are becoming obsolete because compassion, acceptance, and empathy are on the rise in young adults. Yes, they will figure out the world is a cruel and demanding place. Their expectations will sometimes be unmet. Love will sometimes hurt. But I’m thinking maybe I have something to learn from how they handle it, rather than the other way around. I realize that the truth of my reaction to defeat, real or perceived, is that I am afraid. This generation has a general fearlessness. Rather than educate them in the realities of fear disguised as prudence, maybe we should take a lesson ourselves. In the Olympics of life, let’s giggle and wave and remember that the victory is already assured through Christ, and savor the moment.

"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?" (Isaiah 56:3-4 NIV)

"The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? V.13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." (Psalm 27:1 NIV)

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Gather Her || 10.20.16


..whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

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October Guest Speaker: CW's own, Lynn Marie Cherry, Author

Lynn has just published her first book and will share her personal journey of walking through betrayal and how we, too, can get to other side of our hurts and hangups we may have experienced in our lives. It's real #GirlTalk


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