Scrolling through Facebook, you are bound to see perspectives as to how to market to millennials, what millennials value (hint: it isn’t avocados) and what makes these millennials unique. I find myself trying to read these articles with an open mind, but often times have to leave the site without reading the entire piece. I find it frustrating when we categorize people into groups that over glorify personal beliefs and experiences from one or two people who fit into the age group being microscoped. I also find it interesting that so many people find this generation to be unstable compared to their own non-conformist time as youth. Who exactly had the ability to impact these millennials in the first place? Really, there are two scenarios that work. 1) You gave birth to someone who in turn gave birth to a millennial. Or, 2) You, yourself gave birth to the millennial. The answer to my earlier question is this; you are the one who has had the opportunity to have a direct impact on these young people. If you do not like the way they matured, you might want to take a long hard look at yourself.
As someone who is considered a millennial (born in the mid 1980’s) and someone who works primarily with young people around 18-30, I am always learning more about what these people value, like to do, and believe. To make a global statement, I am incredibly proud to know each of them. I have seen young women overcome obstacles and take their lives to the next level of success. I have witnessed young people go to extremes to make sure their elderly or handicapped guests are treated with the utmost respect and care. I have witnessed young people come together for cancer patients by giving of their already drained pocketbooks to ensure medical care can be provided. I saw two campuses of young people come together to provide over two-hundred free haircuts for children. They have provided manicures and pedicures to caretakers of those who are being treated in local cancer centers. So yes, I am honored to know each of these people.
It is a humbling thing to be a small part of their life journey. I have the opportunity to learn intricate parts of these young people’s lives-things I will not share with anyone. I see their successes, help them through their failures and encourage them along the way. I see them have two jobs that they work while going through school, while raising a child and balancing life. The reason I do not like the term ‘millennial’ is because it’s stereotypes do not meet the actuality of these people. It demeans their hard work. It makes them seem as though they are a lesser people. For that, I will not stand.
Call us what you will, we have made a strong impact on our communities and our country as a whole. We have fought in wars, built infrastructure, started businesses, paid taxes and gained education. We are willing to work hard for the things we believe in, and we want a better life for all people, not just our own demographic.
“Through most of human history, our ancestors had children shortly after puberty, just as the members of all nonhuman species do to this day. Whether we like the idea or not, our young ancestors must have been capable of providing for their offspring, defending their families from predators, cooperating with others, and in most other respects functioning fully as adults. If they couldn’t function as adults, their young could not have survived, which would have meant the swift demise of the human race. The fact that we’re still here suggests that most young people are probably far more capable than we think they are. Somewhere along the line, we lost sight of – and buried – the potential of our teens.”
― Robert Epstein
This post was written by Tyler Paulson, Student Services Director for Hays Academy of Hair Design. Tyler has a passion for helping people achieve their dreams. He also has a passion for clarification!