CHARLIES CLOSET
The Right Stuff

DR. CHARLES SCHEWE

CHARLIES CLOSET

 " Every older generation firmly believes that the youth of the day just aren’t what they used to be…don’t have the right stuff...like us. 

My parents, as did yours, worried that when push comes to shove, the young ‘uns of the day wouldn’t have the intestinal fortitude to pull it together to “save society [if needed], and today with the global village we live in, save the world…as perhaps should be expected from the number one nation in the world!! Look what they did in the Great Depression and WWII.  .. ."


Here are some things we do know about those youngsters today,
the college juniors and seniors about to go out into the world… .



The Right Stuff



CHARLIES CLOSET

Every older generation firmly believes that the youth of the day just aren’t what they used to be…don’t have the right stuff...like us.  My parents, as did yours, worried that when push comes to shove, the young ‘uns of the day wouldn’t have the intestinal fortitude to pull it together to “save society [if needed], and today with the global village we live in, save the world…as perhaps should be expected from the number one nation in the world!!  Look what they did in the Great Depression and WWII.  Well, here’s some things we do know about those youngsters today, the college juniors and seniors about to go out into the world…to be those saviors.

 A study was conducted of college juniors and seniors at a large Northeastern university.  Responses to 112 questions on different values held were obtained.  Those values ranged from concern for family, spending/saving behavior, career ambitions to values for religion, sexual behavior and marriage.  These respondents numbered over 400 for three years running.  What was found was really quite interesting…especially to us older, and of course wiser, parents and grandparents.

CHARLIES CLOSET

Expectations ? What Expectations?

During the time of the study, the Great Recession was raging, unemployment hit 10.1%, 7 million jobs were lost and wealth plummeted 40%.  This was the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  One would expect college students, most often relying on the “Bank of Mom and Dad” would hold back on the concern for spending…but not the case found.  It was business as usual in the personal entertainment and material pleasures that swarm around college students.  They didn’t show much interest in “cutting back in spending,” “eating out less,” and “practicing living within my means.”  These students ignored the call of the economic downturn and embraced business as usual.  They seemed insulated from the difficulties facing parents and relatives facing job loss in the cataclysmic economic event of the late 2000s.

These Millennials didn’t seem much into politics, patriotism and even showed less participation in our last 2012 election when compared to those Millennials 10 or so years older.  While there was an uptick in political engagement during the 2008 election, the “Audacity of Hope” fizzled during the Obama first term and college students seemed to become disenchanted and disengaged. 

The noncompliance with the expectations of the Obama campaign seems to have dampened a sense of pride and patriotism in our country.


Today’s “kid generation”


For these youngsters, their interest in organized religion continues to show a spiral downward.  They place a lower priority on religion than previous generations and even older Millennials, those aged 30-35.  Other research shows that they do hold beliefs, are somewhat spiritual and pray as often as other generations did at that age.  However, their “live for today” attitude seems to override the need for a regimented spiritual life that organized religion reflects.  These Millennials seem to be more self-centered and pleasure-seeking than older Millennials. 

And they also don’t think the idea of virginity until marriage holds any water.  They, more than those 10 years or so older, are still more open to living together outside marriage.  They are less likely to view marriage and parenthood as important steps towards becoming true adults.  And they are clearly putting off maturing into adulthood in record numbers.  After college, about half expect to return home to live with their parents.  Sound like you at that age???

Today’s “kid generation”…what we might call them viewed from our perch of age and wisdom…seems to feel entitled.  Brought up by Baby Boomer parents who notoriously are known to be self-indulgent [we Boomers were “special” in the eyes of society when we were “coming of age”], these late adolescents, early adults in this study feel that they too are “special”…and we “helicopter parents” who indulged their every whim have shaped them this way.  They seem to believe that they are entitled to everything that they wish for.  They don’t seem to have the work ethic that we older adults grew up with.  Ask any of your older adult friends who has hired, or tried to hire, young Millennials to pump gas, landscape a yard, or stack wood.

CHARLIES CLOSET

Steady Against the Test of Time 

So are these “young ‘uns” to us like we were to our older generations?  Will they “carry the torch” in the face of a societal crisis…a major military aggression on our soil [think North Korea], a plague that hits large segments of population [think SARS], or an even greater economic downturn than we just witnessed [think Great, Great Depression]?  The answer is, of course, unknown…until!  However, if history serves us, the youth generation will rise to the occasion.  When push comes to shove, the prospects of not rising will override any youthful reticence to come to the floor.  But the how it will happen can likely be traced to the mindset molded during these highly impressionable days of coming of age.  Those values noted in this study should stay steady against the test of time.

Benjamin Franklin said that the only things we can be sure of are death and taxes.  To that I would add that we can also be sure that things will change.   And each ensuing generation will change as its environment changes. 

What will the future be like?  Well, to paraphrase Lamont Cranston, of 1940s radio fame, “What change [evil] lurks in the future [hearts of men]?  The Shadow Knows!!”  So “Stay Tuned…but Be Watchful.”

 Charles D. Schewe, Ph.D.
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CHARLIES CLOSET




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