June 9th, 2017
“My daughter and I have different opinions and we keep having our own set of debates. Things get quite awkward when we are out, for instance, if I am entering an airport with my daughter and if there is an argument happening between the airline staff and a harried passenger, I think it is my fiduciary responsibility to intervene in an attempt to resolve matters. My teenage daughter always takes me away from such situations saying, ‘Mum, this is not your fight, it’s not personal. Promise me you won’t get involved’. I am always puzzled by such response that the new generation has. Is it apathy? Is it indifference? My generation was taught that such things are always personal.
After observing the younger generation at home and at work, I am of the view that we are moving from a phase of ‘revolution to evolution’ of the human species. We were a generation born of scarcity, hard work, moral values, but not much else. Every day was a struggle, every cause was personal and every milestone was an achievement as great as climbing Mount Everest. As the odds were stacked against us; be it as a young girl in a large joint family, be it a young woman in the male-dominated workforce, a young working mum juggling multiple schedules – you had to hustle to make yourself noticed in work or personal life! We were programmed to seek out mentors, leaders, heroes – reach out for advice, assurance and make our voice heard.
Things keep changing and that’s natural! Switch to the millennials: I (mommy) and I (boss) have replaced the needs for helicopter mothers and kind-hearted mentors.
With the new age, almost everything has changed. The modern self-assured, confident generation does not feel the need to scream from rooftops to be heard or to figure out the answers. They are high on self-esteem, not looking for the guide or mentor: self-help is their go-to solution. Climbing up the corporate ladder, breaking the glass ceiling or being validated by their boss is not their ultimate calling. All this might not be completely incorrect but it’s leading to them losing the connection. Therein lies the basic disconnect. The new generation has their own way of executing things. They are reacting to their very own benchmarks, setting their own goals, carving their own future, being more entrepreneurial and risk-taking while letting the world sort out its own problems.
They believe in themselves. They are the ‘Me’ generation – but not in a narcissist, self-obsessive way but in a positive, progressive way.
That’s why we, Gen X, keep struggling so hard to connect with the Millennials. All the parameters that have been handed down to us overtly and covertly through generations are being challenged. Millennials don’t want to own cars or homes or jewels, they are not looking to ‘settle down’ with the first potential partner they meet; they are willing to quit cushy jobs in multinational firms to start out on their own. They may be an entitled lot, but they are using this entitlement to grow their inner selves as much as their outer selves.
It’s time that Gen X realises that this is not personal, it’s a new brave world out there and it’s time we embrace it. The Millennials are a fabulous creation of ours, let’s be proud of it. Parents generally have a tough task to get along with this generation but so is with the Gen X. We need to find a way to bridge this gap.
I took my daughter recently to Madam Tussauds. I told her excitedly, “You can click a picture with your hero” she looked genuinely puzzled and said to me “Mom, I want to be my own real life hero.” And that’s when I reevaluated – this generation does not want to live in our successes, our institutions, our norms: they will make their own.”
– Manisha Girotra.
Submitted By – Mansi
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