According to an article written by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs at Georgetown University, the Millennials see themselves as much more involved and advanced in dealing with global issues than us older citizens. The technological advances of the last 20 years have focused them on the world, not just the United States, and they see that as benefiting all mankind. While we, of the older generation, might accuse them of being lazy and glued to a computer screen, they argue that they are just able to use these tools more effectively, while building a community for their issues in a much broader forum than we could ever have accomplished through our local sphere.
The Millennials are also proud of their levels of tolerance, which they view as far surpassing our generation. Young Americans today believe that "there are many equally valid paths to human happiness. As a result, Millennials are more accepting of non-traditional life choices." Unfortunately, from my perspective, they often embrace these values because God has been virtually eliminated from their cultural experience.
On the other hand, there was an article in Forbes.com that pointed out that the differences could be stated as extrinsic vs. intrinsic. Baby Boomers seem to be concerned with more personal standards such as self-improvement; connections and affiliations that suit their goals; as well as community with others that share their values (such as Church & Family). Millennials seem to be focused on "money, fame and image", values that speak to acceptance by a global body. Narcissist is a label you often hear aimed at the younger generation; resulting in a growing sense of entitlement and disengagement from others, as they concentrate on satisfying their need for recognition and acceptance. (Facebook and Twitter have made millions feeding into that egotism). They are accused of it being "all about them"; in effect, they are criticized as the "Me Generation".
There has been and always will be a difference in the generations. That's nothing new. And I'm absolutely positive that my grandparents generation felt mine was lazy and self-absorbed, too. But the point of this post is not to slam the young, because I want to bring two quick stories to your attention; stories that will renew your hope in our posterity. I'm sure you've seen them, or heard about them, but they bear repeating if they warm the heart of just one reader.
The first is the story of Jhaqueil Reagan, whose regard for the principle of hard work paid off. It is the story of an 18-year-old willing to walk ten miles in the snow and ice for the hope of a minimum-wage job. His mother passed away a year ago, and he had struggled to complete his GED. Now he needed a job. And he was willing to do whatever it took to try and get a job. No handout, no sense of entitlement; just taking responsibility for himself.
It was during that long cold walk that his fortune changed. He happened upon a businessman who owned a small restaurant and answered Jhaqueil's question as to how far it was to his destination. Never asking for a ride or money for a bus ticket, he so impressed that owner with his remarkable work ethic, that he now has a job and a champion.
In a Youtube video, Art Bouvier, that owner, tells why he decided to hire Jhaqueil and how the young man's commitment to get a job moved him. How long has it been since you've seen anyone willing to go to that length to get a job, any job? Here is a member of the younger generation that is willing to pay his dues and do whatever it takes to gain employment. This story made my heart sing!
Then there is the story of Mitchell Marcus, a mentally handicapped student in El Paso who lives for his high school basketball team. Every game he assists the coach as team manager and biggest fan. Well, the last game of the season the coach had a surprise for him. He told Mitchell to suit up with the team, and with a minute-and-a-half left in the game and a 10-point lead, Coach Peter Morales put Mitchell in the game.
Coach Morales had decided that it was worth a possible loss of the game to give Mitchell "his moment in time." (Bravo, Coach!) Hoping to give Mitchell a memory of a lifetime, his teammates fed him the ball, but Mitchell just couldn't quite get the job done. He missed shot after shot, and accidentally knocked the ball out of bounds on his last possession. Coach Morales was disappointed for Mitchell, but hoped that just being in the game would make him happy.
But that's not the end of the story! With seconds remaining, opposing player Jonathon Montanez stood on the sidelines with the ball and called out to Mitchell. Then Mitchell, hearing his name, turned towards Montanez, who tossed him the ball. Mitchell knew exactly what to do. He turned towards the basket, tossed the ball in the air, and ....... Swish! The stands erupted! I dare you to watch the video and not shed a tear. When asked why he turned the ball over to Mitchell, Montanez said, "I was “raised to treat others how you want to be treated. I just thought Mitchell deserved his chance, deserved his opportunity.” When you watch this video, you can see and feel the hearts of Coach Morales, Jonathon Montanez, and Mitchell Marcus --- proof that this generation is not all about "me", but is quite capable of showing unconditional love for others. This story made my soul sing!
In these anxious times, we need to see and hear and feel these kinds of stories. It renews our hope, and heaven knows we need that these days! These young men are the promise of a brighter future; our assurance that the goodness of man will not fade away and that compassion and goodwill towards men still reigns on earth. Thank you, God, for these glimpses of hopefulness and optimism. We know they come from You!
Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.