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The Generation of Millennials: We Are not Wusses

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A man named Brett called the generation of millennials a bunch of wusses, proud of their participation awards and easily triggered by the workings of everyday life. I would like to proceed by refuting that idea and to replace it with my own interpretation of what I think our generation symbolizes.

We are much more culturally sensitive than ever, taught to be confident and ambitious in our youth, and we’re learning ways to understand the world better, to go to school rather than enlist in the army, and to do much better things than fight in a war we don’t believe in. Brave isn’t what it used to be, or at least our idea of Brave isn’t singular to its meaning of enlisting in the army like it was in the 50’s but, to come out as gay to a world that is looking to throw rocks at you because you are different, to live everyday as the person you want to be and not the person society has molded you into, it is being a young single mother trying to raise her child with everything they deserve by working laborious hours and still being coherent enough at the end of the night to read her child a bedtime story. We have adapted to the times and all it sounds like to me is that this man is having some trouble shedding his skin.

We are not wusses, we are adapting to the environment and culture we are handed down, and we do this by building sensitivity and confidence. Some would argue that the guarantee of a trophy even if you walked the entire race down the finish line, and being told a very good job while handed a little plastic trophy with your name on it so that everyone feels included is just unrealistic. Getting a participation trophy is just not fitting in our society, as we are growing more and more competitive by the year and kids cannot be taught that they will always win, or that they are all equal because, let’s be honest, we’re a trek from equality. Everything we are taught from a young age is to properly mold us into functioning adults when that time comes, we are subtly taught the ways of our society, thus teaching children they don’t have to work hard for anything is unreasonable and they will find themselves in a world of hurt once they realize that’s not how the world works. Participation awards replacing actual competition is not teaching children valuable life lessons that you are going to have to work and try, and try again to be the best you want to be, participation awards breed laziness.

To counter that, I believe participation awards do the thing as say, a first or second place ribbon, it’s encouraging, its security in what you’re doing, like a pat on the back for doing a good job, it makes you want to keep going. With how temperamental children are, let’s say mikey gets a last place ribbon in the 3rd grade in his race and after that he became incredibly discouraged and quit sports all together. Kids don’t always have supportive parents that keep pushing them forward after they lose a race, and the idea forms in their head that they’re just not good at sports, and they will never be able to get better. Rather, having the understanding that they can be better, that if they work hard they can get a first place ribbon, but that’s not realistic because it’s not a thought that pops up in their head unless someone like a parent puts it there. For a lot of young people it’s not a thought that is realized till maturity, it’s a growth mindset like first year college students who didn’t do so well in high school because they never studied studying for the first time and seeing an improvement in their grades, because they just grasped the idea that if I work to be better I will be better. Some need an extra boost where they can get it, they need to be encouraged to stick with what they’re passionate about, and to not give up after they fail. Especially now with technology dominating our youngsters of today, keeping them outside with their participation ribbons might not be such a bad idea. The whole concept of the participation ribbon also feeds into the confidence of a child and their ambition, in addition, how that grows overtime.

The root of Brett’s “problem’’ with an entire generations’ characteristics lie within the youth and how they were molded. You could say even those participation ribbons have a lasting effect on a child’s life as they transition into adulthood, as they have been experiencing constant reassurance in their outlets like music or sports. Just being involved in extracurriculars has a proven beneficial impact on a child’s life, simply playing an instrument can increase memory and math skills, enrich coordination, improves reading and coordination skills and teaches perseverance and creates a sense of achievement says the Peterson Family Foundation. When you have achieved you gain ambition to achieve again. Like a snowball, achievement leads to confidence and confidence gives you the ability to be yourself, individualistic. Encouragement in our youth to stand for what we believe in, to stand out from the crowd even, and do something different with our time than everyone else. The kids who are brought up this way have the ability to turn into the most influential people in the world, those who can run countries, lead revolutions and make changes in our world for the better, confidence and ambition are nothing without each other. Ambition leads us to further our education, to chase what we yearn to know and be knowledgeable about. Education is valued more than ever, we live in a day where a degree is considered equivalent to a high school diploma. And where only the ones with the most ambition will succeed creating a cycle of competition. This is our society, nothing like it before as we are an evolved version of what became before us. Spending less of our time encouraging war rather than trying to understand it, trying to find solutions for it, something that for decades, we’ve refused to do, to look at the other side and to accept our differences not refute them. We are studying culture rather than trying to exterminate it when we disagree. Redefining concepts we have always accepted as concrete, while brave can mean enlisting in the army, accepting your fate of death for the institution, brave is also many other things including the attempt to fight against that war in the name of peace, our meaning of brave and the actions that it embodies are different than how it’s been in the past but that’s how time and culture and societies work, we change and we adapt. We will never be like the generations that came before us, we live in a time with increased access to incredible technology, we take silly selfies with our friends with ridiculous filters on them, we have social media rebellions in the form of hashtags, we give equal ability and choice to boys and girls who wants to wear a dress or play with action figures and we proudly give out participation awards in lure of overwhelming standards that simply cannot be met by an 8 year old playing little league soccer, and instead of meeting those pursuits to inevitably break from all the pressure, they can be happy and confident in what they are doing and be encouraged to keep up their good work.

This is the society we millenials have built and I am offended at the accusation that we are a bunch of wusses, I am proud of my generation and I think we deserve the same young person experience that my parents and their parents and grandparents got to deserve while they were teenagers, with the modifications and tweaks we have adapted to. There is no way that Brett will understand the subtle nuances of our generation and maybe that’s what bothers him the most are the feelings of being excluded, as an academic not fully understanding us. I’d be happy with that, there should be a level of misunderstanding between the generations, like we’re speaking our own language and they can’t understand us with our emojis and memes. We’ve adapted well, and we’re growing every day, we will continue being the sensitive, educated, ambitious and confident, BRAVE wusses that belong to a hell of a generation.

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The Generation of Millennials: We Are not Wusses. (2020, July 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 22, 2022, from
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