I remember being a kid and hearing some variation of “kids these days.” I don’t know how or why but I remember having some sort of conversation or watching some documentary that talked about the kids in the 60s, and the adults of that generation saying some variation of “kids these days.” I remember having the thought that when I became an adult, the same kids that were around me would end up saying some sort of variation of “kids these days.”
And suddenly, we have the Millennials.
The team taking on conversations around Black Lives Matter, the Syrian refugee crisis, and even the Donald Trump presidential candidacy can be heard all over the media. There seems to be a constant hum of Social Justice Warriors and Men’s Rights Advocates, Feminists and Humanists; you can go on and on.
Kids these days!
But this stuff isn’t new. It wasn’t even new for my generation. Young people have been fighting for what they believe is right for all of time. And through all of time there’s been some stupid adult running their mouth about how these kids are going to ruin everything that’s right and good about who we are and where we come from. Forgetting the entire time that what they refer to as “where we come from” is just a tad different from what his or her parents would have called “where we come from.”
Quite frankly, the kids these days seem to be doing some pretty cool stuff. They’re finding ways to make their lives matter, both personally and professionally. They’re finding new ways of connecting each with each other, educating one another, and inspiring one another. If you aren’t seeing that, you’re missing out.
Yes, there are extremes. There is always going to be people who take new ideas to levels of unreasonableness, but even then, sometimes, even those seemingly unreasonable extremes could simply be extreme because of our perspective. There were days that the idea of two gay men of different races being in the public eye would have cause rioting in the streets from groups that hated each other only slightly less than they hated the gay couple.
Today, that couple runs a local craft beer establishment and serves drink and food that would blow your mind, and your city, culture, and life are way better because of it. Oh and there are still a handful of folk left over who think the place needs to be shut down because it’s an abomination, but we all think those people are idiots. (If you don’t, you might want to take a better look around….)
It’s amazing to me how we spend our lives yelling and screaming about how we have to make the world a better place for our children, and then we yell and scream that our children are ruining the world. It’s an endless cycle of people setting up an easier life for the next generation and then not understanding why that generation seems kinder.
And then there’s the group that sees that and thinks the only plausible result is the destruction of mankind, of course failing to see the same incorrect argument from all the generations past.
Look, I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a bit of an optimist. But I would also call myself a realist. I don’t see the world as all sunshine and puppy dogs. There’s some bad shit out there, and we need to have real conversations about how to deal with and protect ourselves from it. But too often that conversation is influenced by misinformation, ignorance, and just plain small mindedness.
As an aside, if you want to hear a conversation with two people who have opposing viewpoints, but manage to have a thoughtful and respectful conversation about some of these key issues, you should really hear THIS conversation between Sam Harris and Dan Carlin.
The world can be a confusing place, but if we look for ways to connect with each other rather than disconnect, you can find the love fairly easily.