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Why Millennials Are the Way They Are
Is it that this group is lazy? Or, is it that we, as parents, and society as a whole, failed them?”
Millennials sometimes get a bad rap for being lazy and wanting everything in life handed to them. This is not something that’s focused on one particular kid; I’ve even noticed it with my son and his friends too. Thinking about this led me to two questions: Is it that this generation is lazy? Or is it that we, as parents and society as a whole, have failed them?
Millennials have been raised by helicopter parents more than any other group that I’ve seen.
I can tell you, during my years in school, I did not have helicopter parents. Whatever happened at school, I had to deal with it. That was it. If something happened to a millennial, a parent would go to the school, confront the teacher, and even force the instructor to change the student’s grade. And the teacher would change it. To me, that’s crazy.
It hasn’t only happened at schools. I know a lot of kids who are in sports, but it’s far different from when I was their age. Participating in school sports was a big growing point in my life that helped me mature. Something I’ll never forget is when my football coach told me, “Excuses are for losers. Don’t even make one.” I still remember that, and I pride myself on going through life that way. Today, these kids who are in sports will receive a trophy no matter what they do. There isn’t a team that wins or loses; everybody wins.
I’ve seen many instances of someone accusing another person’s child of doing something bad in the neighborhood, and their parents will heartily defend their kids.
They believe their child is perfect and have told them so. They tell their kids they can do whatever they want in life and become anything they want to become, but they forget to tell them that it takes a lot of hard work.
When these young individuals come into the real world, they realize the world isn’t fair. It’s tough out there and not everyone is a winner. They realize their parents can’t protect them anymore. If they end up in trouble at work, a boss won’t care if Mom comes marching up, declaring that their child is perfect. A young adult who can’t do their job well doesn’t get a trophy; they could end up getting fired.
As a parent myself, I know how badly we want our kids to succeed. We do what we do because we don’t want them to suffer like we did. Since I was 15 years old, I’ve worked my butt off — seven days a week until about four years ago. We, as parents, don’t want our kids to go through that, so we give them everything we didn’t have. I remember telling my son that school was his job, and he shouldn’t have to worry about anything else. I gave him money so he could have fun in his free time. But the problem is that statistically, when we give our kids money they haven’t earned, they end up earning less money as a result.
Millennials can end up being less productive because they are waiting for free cash. I’ve also noticed that most of the kids who receive money from their parents have a hard time distinguishing between their parents’ money and their own money. These kids could not save money even if their lives depended on it, and that’s not to say “they’re not good.” Most of these kids are exceptional people, but their savings accounts are nonexistent because they keep pulling money out of it for food, drinks, gas, or to hang out with their friends.
In the book “The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy,” author Thomas J. Stanley explains that millionaires spend twice as much time on financial planning than the average person — most kids don’t even think about it. It goes back to the fact that they’re simply waiting and hoping for free money, to the point that they won’t seek out higher-paying jobs. They want to work an hourly wage to make enough money to get by and then go home.
Ultimately, I don’t know if millennials are lazy or if they ended up getting the short end of the stick from their parents and society. I’m starting to think that it isn’t their fault and that their upbringing has something to do with it. Our best bet to help this generation is to learn how to work with them and not be angry about their actions. Maybe then we can help them grow as individuals and become better versions of themselves.