Who are the millennials? It’s always a difficult challenge to define a generation, but most date them as people born around 1980 to the present. The age of the oldest of this generation would be in the low to mid 30’s.
Though the defining characteristics of this generation differ depending on who is consulted, and not everyone born during this time period will fit these characteristics, they are generally characterized in the following way:
1. Socially active
They are heavily involved in community service and they focus on larger societal needs rather than individual needs.
In their book Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube, and the Future of American Politics, the authors provide us with an expansion of what this means:
- Identification with specific political parties and straight-ticket voting
- Rising voter turnout and/or maintenance of turnout at high levels
- Positive attitudes toward politics and political institutions
- Focus on broader societal and economic issues
- Greater ability of the political process to deal with major concerns and institution building
- Greater economic equality and relatively small income and wealth disparities
Millennials volunteer mainly because they want to help people. They want to be a part of changing and improving lives. They have quite a bit of disdain for selfishness, even though as individuals they are quite selfish. This compassion does, however, reveal itself in their social activity.
Millennials have been raised to believe that they can accomplish anything. Their parents, teachers, counselors, coaches and all adults who have been a part of their lives have drilled it into them that “if you believe you can achieve.” And it is that sense of “specialness” that drives their confidence. They really do believe that things will get better.
But this confidence comes from sheltered lives. They were highly protected as kids, spared conflict and even spared losing. They have grown up with what one called “helicopter parents.” This term describes the extreme involvement many parents have in the lives of their children, hovering overhead to make sure everything is okay and intervening the moment it isn’t.Continue Reading …