First off, I’ll start by saying I’m a proud Millennial.
I think our generation has overcome a lot of obstacles, like the Great Recession hitting at the same time we started our search for jobs, or the mountain of student debt we had to incur just to have a fighting chance for a job that would pay $27,000 a year.
I also believe our childhood will forever be marked as the last generation of innocence. We couldn’t Google if there was a Santa, we didn’t have unlimited access to pornography at our fingertips, and we didn’t know that 9/11 was coming our way.
But then two major incidents would forever change our world while we were still kids.
April 20, 1999: Two teens walked into their high school and shot up their classmates. They killed 12 students and one teacher. 21 others were injured.
The Columbine Massacre would shatter our innocence forever. Our nation would fight for decades about whether it was our video games, the guns, the bullying, or the music that caused it.
September 11, 2001: 2,996 lives taken. 6,000 injured. A nation unites temporarily through tragedy.
Columbine set the stage for kids to realize we weren’t safe in our schools. 9/11 would remind us we weren’t safe anywhere.
Now we’re grown, and the country is no safer.
In fact, it’s more dangerous. Our churches and synagogues are under attack. The terrorists are our neighbors, our colleagues, our children’s classmates.
While everyone is busy blaming Millennials for the closing of Toys ‘R Us or making fun of Millennials for eating avocado toast, we are spending our days in the workplace worried our babies won’t make it home from first grade.
I often ask myself how can I parent in this climate? I never know whether I should share these concerns with my kids so they can be prepared should the day come they are under attack.
Annabelle’s already been through lockdown drills “in case a bad guy or a deer” gets inside her school. She’s aware of the opioid epidemic and I’m trying to pass on critical information that pills won’t fix everything- despite the commercials on TV telling her there is a pill for every problem.
But, there are lessons Millennials are learning along the way…
…that it’s okay to be who you are. Whether that’s straight, gay, bisexual, transgender, black, white, Hispanic, Muslim, Christian, male, female, a stay at home or an unapologetic working mom!
Millennials are “whiny” because we want better for you, for our kids, for the future. We just might make up for the security taken from us at such a young age.
Will we screw our kids up? Maybe. But we won’t go down without a fight. Millennials are lazy? We’ve been fighting our whole lives. Fighting for a sense of safety, equality, a home we can afford, and an educational system that is fair for all.
As we take power in this country, we will be cognizant of the financial burden that families carry. We will recognize corporate corruption is not okay, that the earth needs our attention. That racism is not okay. That love is love is love. And we will teach those messages to our children.