I'm right smack in the middle of "Generation X," as are most of my friends. I've noticed a trend among my friends recently of lamenting "Millennials." The Millennials are the generation born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. Many were born into an era where the Berlin Wall never existed, the internet was always a thing and HIV/AIDS terrorized anyone even thinking about having sex.
This generation is often criticized for being too needy, too dependent and too curious. Employers complain that they ask too many questions and require too much validation. "Because I said so" doesn't satisfy them, because quite often their parents were raised on a healthy dose of it and abandoned it in favor of actual communication. They were also raised in an age where information flowed like water from the internet into their minds, the answers always a simple click away.
Their parents have been more involved in their lives than probably any other generation has, sometimes to a fault. Some may say this has made them too soft and prevented them from reaching full emotional maturity, but it has also helped them developed deep empathy and appreciation for others.
What we should see when we look at the Millennials is a future full of hope. A recent study from the Public Religion Research Institute shows us just how progressive their ideas and values are.
Even Republicans among them see the need for fairness in or economic system, and recognize that it does not currently exist:
Nearly three-quarters (73%) of college-age Millennials agree that the economic system in this country unfairly favors the wealthy, while (24%) disagree. Majorities of members of all political parties agree: 85% of Democratic Millennials, 71% of Independent Millennials, and 59% of Republican Millennials.We also see that they have developed an ability to separate their own values from their political beliefs. While 49% said that sex between two people of the same gender is "morally wrong," nearly 60% favor legalizing gay marriage. So, while they don't necessarily agree with the behavior, they respect the rights of others. We see something similar with abortion. 51% say abortion is "morally wrong," yet 59% "believe that at least some health care professionals in their community should provide legal abortions."
The full report paints a picture of a generation that overwhelmingly holds the progressive values we fight for. They are less religious, more open-minded and more tolerant than any other generation. They are also now becoming parents, raising their own children and passing those values on to them.
Instead of complaining that they ask too many questions, we should appreciate their curiosity and desire to understand the world and how it can be improved. It is those qualities that will allow us to see real progress in our own lifetimes.