Born in the 70s, I’m part of Generation X. There are nearly 46 million people who are part of my generation. Many of us were considered “latchkey kids,” and I can say, that was true for me. A latchkey child, as defined by Dictionary.com is “a child who must spend at least part of the day alone and unsupervised, as when the parents are away at work,” and that was a frequent situation in my childhood home. I don’t fault my mother for it; she did what she had to do as a single mother, but I spent many mornings as a young child dressing myself for school, making my own breakfast, and making sure that I got myself to school on time.
Gen Xers bridge the gap between the Baby Boomers and the Millennials, and as a generation, we are the middle child when it comes to social and political issues. As a generation, we are “savvy, skeptical and self-reliant,” which results in a generational mindset that doesn’t care what others think of them. I think that’s true for me – I really don’t care what people say about me or even think about me.
The thing is about Gen Xers is that, as a generation, they don’t really care much for Millennials. I hear about it quite often from fellow Gen Xers. Specifically, the Millennial generation is spoiled, entitled, lazy, and self-absorbed. I don’t necessarily agree with the generational mindset, and overarching blanket statements certainly never apply to an entire generation of people.
Think about it, the Millennial generation grew up with events like the 2007 – 2008 housing market collapse and the September 11 attacks, not to mention, the highest educational debt only to find low-paying jobs. That’s a tough spot to be in, especially at a young age (20s). I think that for the most part, the generation has taken their lumps just like any other generation.
I certainly see classic Millennial traits in my children, and it makes sense considering their ages are 22, 25, and 27. I mean, all three were raised on technology, they use text-speak all the time (this is a completely foreign language to me), and they all have liberal views of the world. While this doesn’t necessarily mesh with my own sense of being, I do recognize that Millennials have traits that I admire greatly (especially in my own Millennial children).
Each one of my children are confident, open to change, and connected to humanity on a level that goes beyond my own connection with the world. How are those traits even considered as negative? They’re not in my opinion. In fact, I enjoy sitting down with my kids, and embarking on a heated discussion about our opposing views. My goal in raising them was to produce adults that could think for themselves, who could form critical, well-thought-out opinions, and who would stand up for their beliefs. I think I’ve achieved that.
In the end, I’m proud to be the mother of three Millennials, even if my fellow Gen Xers don’t agree. Millennials are thinkers – that is never a bad thing.