The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

Differences Aren’t Wrong – They’re Just Different

On September 12th, 2017, posted in: Community, Uncategorized by

Seventeen to 20 years loosely defines a generation. So on the horizon sits about 25 percent of the population, born between 1995 and 2012. They’re the generation after the oft referred to Millennials that, by most accounts, have rocked our world. What do we call them? Centennials? iGen? How will this cohort act? Here’s some early discussion. (Remember, they are between five and 17 years old).

According to social-science researcher Jean M. Twenge, PhD, in her 342 page book on this group’s behavior, we have an interesting crowd on our hands. As she notes, not every baby boomer is a hippie, and not every millennial hates Cracker Barrel and feels entitled, but there is validity to the characteristics and generational distinctions related to the wide brush strokes of birth cohorts. That said, what’s the early take on iGen?

This new group is somewhere between the cynical take of Gen X and the cocky attitude of millennials. Not much is “wrong” in their eyes, i.e. boomers should think Woodstock. They don’t label differences as wrong – they’re just different. But, there’s a catch; not much is wrong unless tolerance is wronged. In other words, they are intolerant against intolerance. Does that throw many of them into loosely “supporting the restriction of free speech?” WOW… about face.

Look, without delving too deeply into my personal thoughts, I probably find the statement “intolerant against intolerance” much more right than wrong. Speaking of Woodstock, I’m from the camp that asks “why can’t we all just get along?” One of my favorite bumper stickers of all time is “Mean People Suck.”

Know that I am genuinely saddened and literally cringe over many of the things said today. “Open mouth, insert foot” has become a sporting event in many circles. But, to stop people from saying what they want frightens me on a whole bunch of levels. What was the old saying, something like “Better to remain silent and thought a fool, than to open mouth and remove all doubt?” Yep, people are mean, hateful and either don’t care or are not mindful enough to know the effects of what they say. But to muzzle them is a big step.

What else on this iGen cohort? Academic skills lag because they don’t spend time reading any serious or systematic way. They are on their phone. Speaking of phones, they prefer virtual to real relationships. Friends in person are weird, and as a result they have shifted decisively to the guy or gal in the phone. My generation called them “make believe friends.”

Relationships in social media displayed on the phone is the safe place to be. There is a real question as to this virtual world stunting the development of this generation’s adult skills. They don’t want to “catch feelings” as they might say. These maturity fears could be real and delay their progression into adulthood. They don’t want to be “adulting” if they are not forced into doing so.

Sadly, there is one more thing. Don’t be fooled. Early studies reflect that living on-line without “catching feelings” or “adulting” hasn’t made them happier. On the contrary, they feel horrible. Are we on the cusp, argues one prominent social-science researcher, of a mental health crisis unrivaled in decades, with depression and suicide skyrocketing? Let’s hope not.

No Responses to “Differences Aren’t Wrong – They’re Just Different”

Leave a Reply