Every generation has both good and bad points. Millennials are no different. They are making great contributions to technology, they are aware of social justice issues, and they have a great entrepreneurial spirit. Unfortunately, as with other generations, the culture in which they were raised has caused them to miss out on a few life lessons learned by previous generations.
1. Conflict Management Skills Via Playground Politics
Baby Boomers and members of Generation X spent their free time, for the most part, running around without any adult supervision. This meant that when conflicts came up, they were handled among the children without adult intervention. Members of these generations negotiated important matters such as who won the race, who gets to go first this time, and who gets the ball. Millennials grew up with playtime that was largely supervised. When conflicts arose, they were often dealt with by the nearest adult. This was great in instances of bullying or unsafe behavior, but it also prevented many millennials from suffering the natural consequences of acting like a jerk.
2. The Great Money Making Potential Of Child Labor
While they may have waited until the age of 15 or 16 to get an official job, many members of Generation X and Baby Boomers were earning money long before that. It wasn’t uncommon for kids in these generations to fund their own activities with paper routes, summer work detasseling corn, mowing grass, picking up cans and bottles for the deposit money, and doing odd jobs for neighbors. Store and restaurant owners were often willing to pay a few dollars for a kid to do a bit of cleaning or run some errands. In contrast, the Millennial generation was sheltered from working until they were teenagers or older.
3. Taking Care Of Others
For the most part, Gen Xers were the last kids who were expected to babysit their siblings after school and while they were out playing. The Boomer generation is also known as the sandwich generation because so many of them took care of kids and aging parents at the same time. Because their parents are relatively young, and many are opting out of having kids are missing out on the character development that comes from caring for others.
4. Natural Consequences Of Failing to Study
Millennials are the first generation that grew up with an extraordinary amount of interaction between home and school. Report cards and parent teacher conferences once or twice a year was the sum total of communications between home and school for the most part, unless there was some trouble. Parents in these generations viewed grades, lost work, and other issues things to be dealt with between the student and the school. Millennial’s parents, on the other hand, tended to keep regular contact with teachers, negotiated grades, and were often ready to replace or deliver lost and forgotten items.
5. The Responsibilities Of Home Ownership
Many millennials have stated they are not interested in home ownership. Many feel as if the debt is not worth it, and that a permanent, lifetime residence is too much of a commitment. They may be gaining freedom and less debt, but they are also missing the chance to own something of value that can be passed on.
6. Sustaining Difficult Relationships
A large number of millennials are choosing not to marry. This, for many of them, takes away the incentive to work on relationships when things are difficult. The expense and stigma of divorce was a motivating factor for previous generations to work on relationships. This resulted in long lasting marriages that became touchstones for entire families.
7. Punctuality On The Job
It was virtually unheard of for anybody to work from home a decade or two ago. Today many millennials work from home at least part of the time. Because of this, many have not experienced the daily obligation of transporting oneself to work, being punctual, and showing up at the same place 5 days a week.
8. Paying For One’s Own Education
The Millennials are the first generation who will not be able to significantly contribute to their education, while they are getting it. Tuition costs are simply too high. Because of this many will rely on student loans. Sure, they will pay these back later, but will they value the education they are getting as much as they would if they were funding at least a portion of their tuition directly?
9. The Value Of Neighbors
Prior to the Millennial generation, neighbors were most often the primary social circle that people grew up with. Neighbors played together, held block parties, and relied on one another for help with issues such as emergency childcare. Millennials in contrast, have grown up without these connections. In fact, for some, it is the norm to never even meet the neighbors.
10. The Value Of Material Things
In previous generations, when things were fixed, people generally found ways to repair them whenever possible. Shoes for example, would be re-soled. Electronics went to the repair shop. Today, it has become less expensive to replace things than to repair them. This has resulted in many millennials viewing the items they own as disposable.
11. The Importance Of Hand Written Communication
Millennials have always lived in a world where emails, voice mails, and texts are the normal ways of communication. Even grade school pen pal programs are executed over the computer. This has caused a loss of the special connection and good feelings that result from one person taking the time to hand write a letter to another person.
12. The Independence Of Being a Latchkey Kid
The majority of millennials spent their after school hours under the care of a day care center or trusted babysitter. Snacks were planned and prepared as were activities. They have missed out on the independence of getting a house key, keeping track of it, and fending for oneself until Mom or Dad came home.
13. Self Sufficiency Through Home Economics And Auto Shop
Hemming a pair of pants, reattaching a button, replacing spark plugs on a car, changing the oil, cleaning the gutters, painting the shutters, these are all tasks that most people used to do for themselves. Many millennials would not know where to begin if they were given any of these tasks to complete.
14. The Value Of Boredom
This may be the most important life lessons Millennials have never learned. They are constantly scheduled and entertained. Because of this, many have never learned to create their own entertainment, or to simply be still without external stimulation.