Traverse City Record-Eagle

Op-Ed Columns

October 15, 2013

Sam Pollak: Here's what I've learned about the next generation

‘I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words. ... When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly (disrespectful) and impatient of restraint.”

That little tantrum came from the 8th century B.C. poet, Hesiod, who while perhaps more eloquent than today’s “Hey, you kids, get off my lawn!” senior citizens, despaired for the future of his country.

Folks hear a lot nowadays about how clueless today’s young people seem to be. I know this to be true because a lot of what those within earshot are hearing comes from me.

Society has dubbed those born between about 1980 and 2000 as “Generation Y” or “Millennials.”

It’s beyond foolish, of course, to categorize Millennials or any other age group as one monolithic entity, all with the same characteristics without exception for individuality. But somehow that realization hasn’t stopped me from every now and again making portentous, unflattering pronouncements about all these people who will outlive me. Among those sentiments are these:

n They know little about history, certainly less than my generation does. If it didn’t happen to them and doesn’t affect them directly, what’s the use of knowing much, if anything, about it?

n Grammar and spelling mean nothing to them. As long as whoever it is they’re texting can figure it out, why fret about what’s in the dictionary?

n They will go on job interviews in casual clothing accentuated with rings in their noses, figuring that if a prospective employer doesn’t like it, that’s just too bad for the prospective employer.

n They don’t seem to think that getting a semi-permanent job, buying a house, getting married and having kids looks like it would be much fun, so they don’t do those things.

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