Commentary: Generation X versus the millennials: Can we learn how to work together?

Image courtesy of CBS.

Commentary: Generation X versus the millennials: Can we learn how to work together?
August 18
12:08 2021

By Corey Paris

I recently was sent a Facebook video about how things have changed so much. I certainly do agree that raising children is hard, but like all things, hard is what you make it. In the video, a child went to her father and asked, “Hey dad, why do you hate millennials?” and her father replied, “I don’t hate millennials, we just don’t get along.” 

How right was he! A day before my father and I were talking about how the younger generation (millennials) think that they know everything, but don’t know anything, will express their opinion, but ONLY know half the story, and the MOST hilarious to me – they know more than us (the parents). Yes, due to the world advancing in technology, moving into the age of “the Jetsons,” us (Gen X) aren’t as savvy with the 21st century as opposed to the 20th century. Everything in the millennial’s life is FAST, FAST, and FAST. 

On another note, being a parent and dealing with the “issues of raising a child,” I can truly agree to “not getting along.” However, I don’t hate them – I love and will do almost anything for my children – but sometimes I just don’t want to even talk to them.

I remember a simpler time, the only social media we had was 8-bit video games, the radio, television and the analog telephone. We went outside to play in the park or played skelly in the neighborhood, hung out with your friends and when you were out and about, the village were your parents. And, furthermost, we had and have until this day respect for our elders.

Now there is a flipside to this: Who gave millennials the right to voice their opinions at every given moment?

Granted, our children have become adults now, but will always be children and need to stay out “of grown-folks business.” You just might have an idea on how to address “certain situations” by giving your opinions and pretty much it really doesn’t concern you. So, when you decide to turn the conversation gearing toward you (the millennial) just remember – it’s not about you.

What is this entitlement mentality where you are owed something for being alive?

In the world we live in, it is about hard work, determination, and sheer gusto; live, play, work and appreciate a good day’s worth of work. But once again, it’s not about you.

When children get in trouble, what the hell is a timeout and a hug after the timeout?

When a child/ren gets in trouble, in the Gen X days we would get punished and then grounded for days or maybe months. Sometimes, you could be grounded for so long that your friends might forget who you are.

Where did the respect for the older people go? 

Well, that’s simple. Believe it or not, social media and millennials (NOT ALL) have a minimal amount or no respect for people who are older than them. Hence, we have seen a high mortality rate of parents and children either hurting or killing one another, disrespect, and maybe even resulted in detention and/or jail time. It was never wise for a child to call Child Services on your parents in my Gen X days; the police came and assessed the situation, later to tell the parent to go home and … you know the rest. 

So why millennials, why do you think that calling the city on your parents is a smart move when you know IT IS NOT going to end well for you? Either you’re going to be put in a foster home or on the back of a milk container, SO DON’T DO IT.

Why do the millennials think that everything has to conform to what they believe?

Yes, we teach our children independent thoughts and that is a beautiful thing. But that doesn’t mean everything has to revolve around our young adults and their issues.  Once again, it’s not about you.

How can we get along with the millennials? 

We can’t. Just like the generations before us. 


1925-1945     THE SILENT 

1946-1964     BABY BOOMERS

1965-1979     GENERATION X (GEN X) OR 13’ERS 

1980-2000     MILLENNIALS OR GEN Y 

2000-         NEW SILENT 

HOWEVER, the 21st century is new and scary for my Gen X, but as we were taught (well, some of us) how to persevere through hard times, turn a TV dinner into Thanksgiving, and not be scared of hard work (well, some of us). Us older people forget one important thing about this article: We raised the new pain in the millennials. They are our reflections and everything that we are. 

Think about this: The reason why we don’t get along with the millennials is because they are our hyperactive younger selves. They are our stubborn selves that our grandparents “didn’t get along with.” They are everything that we wanted them to be (depends on your expectations). They are determined, but not capable (for now) of being disciplined in the basic things (COMMON SENSE) that will take you a long way. For each generation, the following generation continues to exhibit a continuous cycle of something that cannot be helped; it’s not that my generation hates our predecessor, it’s that sometimes we just don’t get along. 

My final thought: It is an on-going cycle of not getting along, maintaining the integrity of passing the torch to the next generation that will not get along with the one before.

The final objective that all my Gen X peers have to keep in mind is, we have to all find a common denominator that can and will bridge the old with the new and learn how to work together.

Corey Paris is a Brooklyn native who resides in Winston-Salem. He loves creative writing and down-to-earth topics and is a true advocate for common sense.

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