Great article, Justin!
I am a Gen Xer who has long been interested in looking at history through the collective lenses of generations. And for the past several years, I’ve been trying to play peacemaking consciousness-raiser between the generations, often in defense of Millennials to Boomers, sometimes the other way around.
Anyway, a couple of things. Are you aware of the Strauss-Howe Generational Theory? In sum, it says American history is broken down into 4 cycles of roughly 20 years each, and these can be likened to the four seasons. And the Archetypes of the generations are shaped by what age they are in what season.
Anyway, Millenials have come of age in late fall/early winter (this “winter” began with the 2008 financial crisis) while Boomers came of age in late spring/early summer! Total opposites!
But while you may seem in opposition that can be seen as mostly a reflection of the dysfunctional society we live in.
If you look at Native American medicine wheels, they used them to show various cycles in our world, including the cycles of human lives. What you see is that the cycles on opposite sides of the wheel (elders-young adults) are connected by a spoke. And this spoke means they must support each other. Elders pass down wisdom and young adults do physical work and other things to help the elders.
That is key to keep in mind.
Anyway, I posted the following bits on my Facebook page when I shared this article:
My impression of the Millennials that I’ve worked with is they are hard-working with a “can-do” attitude.
Are they perfect? Of course not. For one, I feel they sometimes get too easily caught up in feeling slighted by the world, sometimes seeming to almost be hyper-alert for things to be offended by.
(Yes, I am aware these are generalities; as a Gen Xer who is often at odds with my generation’s more jaded outlook on Life, I am very familiar with understanding that a generation is made up of individuals. Still, the Archetypes exist, in large part because the conditions the generations grow up with do change and that changes a group’s outlook).
If the Strauss-Howe Generational Theory is (mostly) correct, the Millenial Archetype of the Hero is the same as the GI (“Greatest) Generation. And that means for society to pull through the Crisis Era of the 2020s, we need them to be motivated, strong and to retain hope.
Just a few thoughts.