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Intolerance Toward the 20 Somethings Today

Updated on June 26, 2019

Understanding and Tolerating the 20 Somethings

What's With the Intolerance of Youth?

The very same individuals who nitpick over the things the 20 somethings say and do are the same 60s hippies and peace and love generation, the 70s Glam generation and the 80s Disco Dancers who have clearly forgotten their own youthful faux pas.

All any Boomer has to do is watch the videos of Woodstock to be reminded of their own misguided indiscretions.

Most of the 70s Glam generation now hate their old high school and college photos with all that big hair, even on the guys and all that rock star imagery.

Not to be outdone by youthful outlandishness, the 80s Disco Ducks often spent more time on a dance floor than in actual gainful employment. But to be fair, the disease of affluenza had already infected the nation.

Bashing Today's Highly Intelligent Youth

All generations have a few wrinkles they iron out by the time they become adults or parents. All of those celebrities who spent their youth pushing their fame to the limits with nude photos and sex scandals have become the "Parents Perfect" today who believe they wrote the books on parenting.

Our Enlightening 20 Somethings

When that awful school shooting took place in Parkland, Florida, we saw the emergence of the kind of adult responsibility some of middle age and older still do not possess. Rather than sit back and wallow and whine about the event, students took action in the most unexpected ways.

They went directly to their state legislators and presented a comprehensive gun control plan and founded the "Never Again, MSD."

Adults who thought this would eventually fade away were mistaken. Instead, the group from Stoneman Douglas High School continued their fight in a state that has fought gun control for decades.

Now, they are college age 20 somethings who refuse to give up their fight. This shows integrity, temerity and courage. It is barely possible some will realize the only way they can change things is to be part of the change. Some may run for office and if they do, it should surprise no one.

20 Somethings in Politics

It may surprise some though that many town councils allow one high school representative to be a member of the council.

For example, in 2011, Svante Myrick age, 24 become mayor of Ithaca, NY. The 29 year old mayor of South Bend, IN, Pete Buttigieg is running for president in 2020.

As he stated, “When you run for office in your 20s, your face is your message,” He is now 35 and halfway through his second term.

Enter Alexandria Ocasio Cortes

Alexandria Ocasio Cortes, commonly referred to in the press, as "AOC" was born in the Bronx NY in 1989. She is a vivacious, energetic, outspoken young 29 year old who has emphasized her Green New Deal to the angst and consternation of anti environmentalists across the country.

She represents NY's 14th district that has a population of just under 700,000 with median incomes of approximately $60,000 per annum. She was overwhelmingly elected to the House of Representatives in 2016.

The uproar and furor over AOC's political policies seem to irritate many in her own Democratic Party. This is especially true when she stated all incumbent Dems should be replaced with younger representatives.

AOC is a "no holds barred" controversial speaker who seems, at first blush, to say whatever is on her lips before she has had a chance to think it through.

For example, she called for removal of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

What this shows is that she believes at age 29 those who have earn the right to their political titles must step aside so they can be replaced by millennials, regardless of millennial experience or qualifications.

With these 20 somethings, they live in a grey area older individuals cannot tolerate. The older an individual becomes, the more they want things in black and white so they can know where millennials are coming from. Grey areas just are too undefined.

The Howling and Yowling

The oldest seniors know the impetuousness of youth. They can ignore the brashness and the grand, sweeping efforts of millennials by chalking up that kind of behavior to inexperience.

What a 20 something is in their 20s will change vastly by the time they reach age 50 or 60.

But, it is those years in between 20 and 50 that shape each individual life. No one can know their fate or their future with certainty. Yet, many 20 somethings are certain they do.

So the howling and yowling from their parents and those with far more experience shows an unwillingness to tolerate that today's 20 somethings, though far more educated, are still seriously inexperienced.

Many wonderful things come from books. Experience is not one of them. Experience is hands on and must include failures in order to go forward in the ever challenging quest for success.

Perhaps, Maxine Waters, herself a prominent member of the House of Representatives, understands this best. She has taken AOC into mentorship which has had the effect of tempering some of AOC's more outspoken public comments.

20 Somethings Go Where Angels Fear to Tread

The fact that being 20 something has a long long range future gives them a lot of space and time to develop their skills, talents and techniques.

However, this is an age group with the most hi technical knowledge that is bound to result in many, many wonderful results in science, math and engineering.

Their knowledge of hi tech is already so deeply embedded they barely notice how sophisticated they've become. So they fear less and go where angels fear to tread because of their constant thirst for answers and new vistas.

Resentment of Youth

When we hear the constant complaining about the 20 somethings of today, we must look deeply into ourselves and ask what our real complaint is. Surely it cannot be that we want an entire generation to go backward rather than forward in education and technology.

Nor do we want our 20 somethings to become ignorant political door mats who agree to anything the older generation throws at them.

Big Changes are Coming

As each day passes, our 20 somethings grow into 30 something adults. The best thing older adults can do is to learn to "listen" when 20 somethings speak, not be so quick to judge and to make an effort to be more tolerant of youthful exuberance.

Most of the boomers of the 60s had to be pretty vocal to make changes. Our 20 somethings may not take it to the streets. Why would they? All they have to do is sign onto their favorite YouTube, Facebook or other social media source and the have the attention of the whole world.






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    • Ewent profile imageAUTHOR

      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 

      21 months ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      In order for any society to move forward our younger generations need space and room for that growth.

      I've lived every day by one axiom, "You are never too old to learn something new."

      Those who negate this idea waste their time living in a dimension that goes no where.

      Listening to young people is the best for all of us.

      I'm from the Boomer Generation that gets accused of being the most selfish generation. Are we really? Or is that same mislabeling that some need to justify their own generational flaws?

      What I saw of a lot of the young people born aging into adulthood in the 70s and beyond was this odd drive to be perfect. That's just the opposite of the "let it all hang out" Boomers.

      I often feel that today's 20 somethings are being hemmed in by the kind of militarized restrictions they'd find in a time of war.

      Colleges have been handed to corporations who make huge profits from tuition that bar these bright, young minds from being able to access affordable education. That's a disgrace.

      I can't begin to imagine what it must be like to leave college with 40 years of a debt for college loans. That's so unfair.

      If everything today is privatized and handed to corporations, these young people must now receive a very different kind of education from those of us who are older. We must try to help them fight for their right to affordable education and healthcare.

      We must help them to find their direction in careers that can be sustainable for their futures and not bar them from owning a home as many of us Boomers have done.

      I had to write an article about the subject of today's home ownership. It makes me sick to think that the average price of a home in the US today is well over $300,000.

      We bought our 3 bedroom 1500 sq. ft home in 1966 for $18,000. We've made a few changes over the years. But, I never intended to sell to make a profit. It's a home, not a mutual fund.

      So now when I speak to young adults who are dreaming of their first home, I tell them to consider where they want to be when they are grandparents. Will they really want a McMansion that costs thousands a month to maintain or do they plan to move every 3 years considering the cost of moving companies, real estate commissions and the stress of those moves?

      I also try to make sure the young people I speak with know their vote is their voice in their government and to never take that lightly. When they understand being an active part of local, state and federal government gives them a stronger voice, they then realize the value of every dollar they earn. Which is as it should be.

      When they take an active part in their government, they are more likely to know their employee rights and not get hoodwinked by those out to make a fast buck from ignorance.

    • Rock_nj profile image

      John Coviello 

      21 months ago from New Jersey

      Well said Eleanore about the reality of 20 somethings versus the stereotype they are given. I got upset one time when a bunch of people in their 40s and 50s were bashing 20 something millennials for being lazy and self-centered. I didn't like the obvious bigotry towards this age group for no other reason than they were different. They have their perspective and in a lot of ways, I admire them for pushing back against the cruel lifestyle that older generations subjected themselves to when work became all-consuming of their lives. Maybe older folks should listen to the 20 something instead of being intolerant towards them.

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