Friday, March 5, 2010

Generation Y: The worst generation? Don't you believe it!

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen."

“Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense”

“We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out”

“Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

“If you are going through hell, keep going.”

“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”

– Winston Churchill


My favorite subject all through my schooling – from elementary all the way through college – was history, but especially American history and world history. I absolutely love studying the past and finding out how people did things back then and why. By studying the past, we also learn a lot about ourselves and how we have evolved since the times of our ancestors – and especially, how we have not changed since those times. There is a whole lot of wisdom in that old saying, “Those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it.”

Another one of my loves should come as no surprise to regular readers of my blog: I love superhero comic books. The titanic tales of heroism in the face of danger have always captivated and fascinated me. Even though most of the superhero folks have superhuman powers, the best stories about them were about just how human they really were. Plus, certain heroes embodied certain values that I still live by to this day.

For example, Superman embodies that you should use your talents for the greater good. He got this value system from his Midwestern farmer parents. Spiderman’s classic line of “With great power comes great responsibility” came to him the hard way, after he had lost his uncle after failing to stop someone when he could have – and that person ended up being the one who killed his uncle. Captain America believes in the best of everyone he meets, and he believes in the American dream. Those around him can’t help but be bolstered by his infectious optimism.

When I was a little girl struggling with my personal problems related to growing up, I found solace in my history books and my comic books. The tales from history and the comics showed me that I was not the only one who has problems, and that the solutions to our problems often could be found from within. The very best people in history were not those that had the most money or the most power, but those whom had a strong moral center, and who were able to maintain that center despite the most trying of times. Winston Churchill, whose quotes are above, is one such example.

All this is preface for what I’m about to discuss, and that’s in regards to my generation, often referred to as “Generation Y”. In a previous blog entry, I had stated that it could be said that my generation is the worst generation. I’m now about to explain what I meant by that, and I will explain it by paraphrasing one of Churchill’s quotes above: “Generation Y is the worst generation, except for all the rest.” Yes, my fellow GenYs, we have the potential to be the best generation if we want it bad enough.

Mind you, this term is not meant to supplant the generation that lived through the Depression and fought in World War II. That generation will always be the Greatest Generation; it’s virtually impossible to match the accomplishment of a generation that grew up in poverty and with a spotty education, and yet went on to literally save the world by fighting the Axis empires.

What I mean by “Best Generation” is that we GenYs have the potential to accomplish so much that we can transform the world – not by intent, but as a result of the potential for good that we can bring about if we apply our talents in the right way. That is, we will accomplish this not by deliberately trying to change the world in some grand master plan, but instead, it will come about because we work on the individual level. “In order for nations to change, men must change”, in essence.

The problem for us comes from learning what “the right way” is, and the biggest part of that problem is the fact that our parents are, for the most part, the generation known as the Baby Boomers(BBs). Before I continue, let me explain something here: I am not so much trying to make this blog entry as yet another example of the current generation blaming the one before; rather, I will try to demonstrate that a quick read of history will show that the BBs were largely not a good source to go to when it comes to finding examples of the right ways of doing things – and in some instances, they were quite the opposite – so opposite that you could probably find out the right thing to do by doing the opposite of what they tell you to do.

It is said that our generation is destined to be the first generation that will not be more affluent than the generation before. If that’s the case, then I think a large reason why would be the failure of our BB parents in raising us, for if we are the products of our upbringings then who brought us up? However, I refuse to accept that we are fated for failure. While we had no control over the circumstances of our birth, we are fully in control of how our lives progress from this point on. Given that, if we GenYs do indeed end up less than our BB parents, then we’ll have only ourselves to blame.

In conclusion, don’t let anyone tell you that our generation is doomed to be less than anyone else’s. Our failures will indeed be our own, but so will our successes and I hope that we plan on succeeding in our lives, not failing. There is no reason that we need to live up to a self-fulfilling prophecy just because someone tells us that we are destined to fail. Instead, let’s use those words against our critics as motivation to prove them wrong. If we prove them wrong, then we’ll all benefit. That, actually, should be incentive for these “gloom and doomers” to make sure that we don’t end up less affluent than the BBs, because if we go down, then everyone else is going down with us.

I had intended to make this entry a very long one, but after further consideration, I will instead break this down into parts so that we all have a chance to discuss the other points that I plan to bring up in the coming days. Basically however, my points are going to be roughly based on Churchill’s quotes above. I will stop here to get some input and feedback from the rest of you before I post my next statement, which will probably come sometime next week.


Busty Superhero Chick said...

By the way, if anyone could tell me the source of the quote above "In order for nations to change, men must change.", I would appreciate it. I wanted to find it before I posted my entry above, but Blogspot was acting funky at the time, and the only way to prevent my entry from being totally lost was to go ahead and publish the entry. I believe that quote came from Scripture, but I haven't been able to find it so far.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't tell you Andy. The Internet can be a mess when if comes to finding specific stuff such as that. My suggestion to you is to ask your mentor or older family members. I believe either of them will better guide you in the right direction of the source for that quote.