I’ll never be able to grow a ‘man-bun’or a ‘top-knot’. That is just the sad byproduct of being on the wrong side of forty.
Frankly, I’d love to be able to, just as I would like to attend a music festival without appearing as some sort of seedy relic. In fact, there are a number of millennial activities that I won’t get to try thanks to my age, appearance and propensity to fall asleep on the lounge with potato chips all over my shirt.
For millennials, the world is their oyster; a world full of unusual and confusing little trends and habits that confound the life out of those who have well and truly forgotten the joy of youth.
I get a real kick out of the judgemental eyes that leer at teenagers as they engage in activities that to others, seem pointless, weird and at times, flat out rude.
Paint a picture in your mind of the skinny-jean wearing kid with spacers in their ears, phone in hand and air pods cocooning them in an alternative musical universe.
Tattoos bring about a host of wonderful expressions from both the middle aged and the geriatric, as do ripped denim and peacock-like hairstyles featuring a kaleidoscope of colour.
Throw in some strategically placed piercings and the visual and psychological challenge that the modern teenager presents to generations prior becomes considerable.
Sadly, those quizzical looks are often laced with stereotypical and judgemental attitudes that disrespect and demean an entire generation. In reality, they are doing merely what each and every generation before them has done; finding their own unique place in the world.
Unfortunately, our 50+ decision makers and legislators create a climate of punitive blame, when in reality the issue they see as problematic is of their own making.
The under-funded education sector and an absurd obsession with standardised testing conspire to give the impression that unmet benchmarks are indeed the flaw of the student.
In reality, constantly shifting goal posts and fraudulent threats of the non-awarding of leaving certificates based on a single and flawed test, do more damage to students than we are willing or able to measure.
Socially, our supposedly economically sound leaders have continued to drive the nation down an ever-dangerous path where profit, income and surpluses take precedence over time, family and life itself.
Caught somewhere in between are many dysfunctional families and by association the youth; labelled as lazy, disrespectful and recalcitrant by many, and lampooned for their appearance and activism.
What develops, it a critical and conservative, broad brush view of millennials amidst glorification of days gone by.
In the fish bowl that is my life, I see anything but that image. In fact, the youth amongst whom I mix, appear acutely aware and motivated by some of the biggest challenges facing our planet in the short term future.
They come across as thoughtful, motivated and frustrated by so much that seems offensive and illogical in our world.
In just the past week, my eldest daughter has designed a fitness program to be administered to new Year 7 students at her school. She has worked three evening shifts at our local Coles supermarket in her continued efforts to save money for pending University fees and transferred a portion of her pay to a high interest bearing account based on her newly acquired knowledge of compound interest.
Her younger sibling continues to work on her writing, crafting stories about fantastic beings that morph with the human race to create a dangerous and dictatorial species that seeks ultimate power and control.
Many of the students I tutor have similarly busy lives, grand ideas and the spark of ingenuity. Some of them wear those ripped jeans, bear some ink or brandish a man-bun.
However, stupid, lazy and ambivalent they are not. I’m sure most of you reading this with children of your own would feel much the same way.
For every derogatory comment made about millennials, have a think about the failings of the past.
If every adult who had ever smoked a joint, popped a pill, abused alcohol, failed a test, disappointed their parents or had their fashion choices questioned were asked to refrain from commenting on the kids of today, I’m almost certain millennials could live in something close to silence.
Perhaps people just forget what it was to be young and exactly how long it took them to work out this rather chaotic maze called life.
I’ll keep telling my kids they aren’t stupid, rude or freak shows irrespective of a few questionable decisions they may make along the way. Heaven knows, I made a few and to criticise them for their error…..well……what would that make me?