Younger activists may not follow the same path as their elders but they are engaged and taking action in their own way
Every generation of old codgers thinks its society’s youth are feckless layabouts who will send the world to hell in a handbasket. Socrates complained that ancient Greek children loved luxury, and had terrible manners and contempt for authority. In the 1920s, parents feared their offspring would turn into immodest flappers and risky partygoers. In the 1960s, when large numbers of students and young people drove the new civil rights, feminist, peace and environment movements, they sent the older generation into a panic. Youth had “gone wild”. Teenagers were “sex-obsessed”, while protestors were nothing better than rioting criminals. It’s inevitable, then, that millennials cop criticism, but it’s not justified.
A much-discussed 2013 Time cover bears the memorable line “Millennials are lazy, entitled narcissists who still live with their parents.” The inside story, penned by a Gen Xer, told of “a crisis of unmet expectations” for kids born between 1981 and 2000, thanks to their being raised on a diet of constant praise and affirmation: “Though they’re cocky about their place in the world, millennials are also stunted, having prolonged a life stage between teenager and adult.”