Not All Snowflakes Melt

I’m getting tired of hearing how soft, lazy and entitled all millennials are.

This is a sore subject because my youngest daughter is a millennial. She lives at home while finishing her degree which means her male and female friends come to our house to hangout. So I get to be like a National Geographic photographer and observe millennials in their natural habitat

Most of the kids who come to our house are great. Many of them are holding down jobs while going to school. They have informed opinions on current events and enjoy thoughtful discussions with my wife and me. These kids don’t throw a tantrum and accuse me of being mean when I push back. Instead they are able to articulate why they think the way they do.

This is going to surprise you, but a lot of them are conservative. Most of them have a year or so of college left so they are starting to think about things like cost of living and taxes. Two issues that usually mark the difference between conservative and liberal world views. They don’t like the idea of the government taking their money and giving it to those who don’t work as hard as they do. Good for them.

Millennials are usually portrayed as lazy. Not this group of kids. The guys who show up at my house all have a great work ethic. When I ask them to help me with something there’s now whining, no eye rolling instead they hop up ready to work. Same with the girls. All of them know a great work ethic is a key to them building the life they’re dreaming of.

What they don’t have that I do is 52 years of good and poor decisions.

But what’s great about these kids is they know it. They are content to acknowledge they don’t know everything but want to learn. They have a Teach Me attitude. And that’s awesome.

Being a guide, teacher, mentor, sage, yoda or whatever description you want to use is hardwired into every man. Especially those us in the men of certain age category.  We LOVE it when a young guy wants to ask us questions.

This is for my fellow old farts.

We can’t get pissed when they don’t take our advice. Give the young guy the benefit of the doubt. He may be taking what we told him and adding his thoughts, advice from other guys and what he’s read to come up with his plan. And that’s good. Now he’s developed a plan he can own.

The other reasons we can’t get defensive if they ignore our advice is we might be wrong.

Here’s what I’m saying, join me in refusing to lump all millennials into one group. Let’s agree to avoid automatically assuming a kid is a whining, entitled snowflake just because of their age. Instead talk with a millennial when you get the chance. Engage them in a real conversation. Ask questions about their life, their dreams, their fears.

Sure you’re gonna have to suffer through the occasional idiot regurgitating what their sociology professor told them. When that happens put your hand over your mouth and realize it’s the idiot professor you should punch in the throat not the kid. The more millennials you talk to the more of them you’ll find who are kind, articulate, hopeful, funny, respectful, and crazy smart.

Speaking of smart, did you know many scientists think each new generation is roughly 10% smarter than the previous one? So yes, there’s a good chance you can learn something from a millennial. Which is great because not only will you be smarter, you’ll also have performed one of the most important acts this group needs, you’ll have treated them as an adult. Hopefully they’ll make the connection and learn a lesson everybody has to learn: if you want to be treated like an adult, act like one. If you want to be treated like a punk, act like one and the world will oblige you.

Remember, if we want to live in world full of snowflakes that won’t melt, we have to do our part. It’s on us to show them the way.