Every generation is known for something. Whether it is something that happened beyond their control like the great depression or a war, something they fought for like the civil rights movement or the hippie movement, or something they created like the assembly line or the internet. Each generation is a mix of the things they choose, the things that happen to them, and how they are perceived by generations coming before and after. For Millennials  (Currently those aged 12-32), this is no different. Everywhere, authors and thinkers are posting their two cents about our values and our future. But what do we want for ourselves? What characteristics do we have that will give us a leg up in the future, and what things in ourselves should we look out for? As Millennials, we ought to step up to share what we have seen in our generation, in the books we’re reading, and in ourselves: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good.

Every generation brings something to offer up on the table of history, and our generation is no different. Millennials are known for independent and creative thinking, easy adherence with technology, and our constant search for meaning. We are one of the most altruistic generations in history in both our willingness to take a pay cut in order to have more meaningful vocations, and in our philanthropic activities outside of the work place. We are a generation of true care for everyone, and we are much less likely to let traditional boundaries of race, gender, or economics to keep us from serving or collaborating with others. For us as Millennials, and for us at Medici Project, this should be (and is) very exciting.

The Bad.

On the flip side of altruism, innovation, and philanthropy, we find a darker side to our generation. We are altruistic to the point of devaluing the things we do not understand. Our passion for innovation often leads to us throw out the baby with the bathwater; often diminishing the contributions and creative innovations of generations that have come before. Our desire to always see the meaning in everything can lead to what some call entitlement. We want to do something of meaning, so we often feel that we are above wanting to do the monotonous and often difficult work of  proving ourselves to the general work force and, more specifically, to older generations. We interpret this as “they don’t understand that I want to do something that means something.” They interpret this as, they think “they don’t want to work for what they have, they want to be handed their dream job immediately.” If we want to be a part of the world we are in, we have to be able to take our values and see them as they will play out over the long (sometimes arduous) journey of our lives, rather than looking for it all to come to fruition in our 20s.

The Ugly. (real ugly)

The ugly is our world today. If generations are known by what they have been through than ours will be known for terrorism, wars, massive natural disasters, economic downturns, failed reforms, and conflicting international interests. The ugly news is that when Millennials take their turn at steering the wheel of the world’s future, there will be a whole lot of baggage in the back seat. Never has there been such great hope, such great worry, or such great need on the shoulders of a generation. Our generation has a great future, so long as we are able to overcome the same misgivings and obstacles that, to be honest, challenge every generation. And then, in our own way, we will be able to pursue the realization of that same hope, found on our shoulders.

There’s Always Hope.

The best thing about being a young generation is that the future is ours to set. Although we can cite statistics, timetables, and characteristics, we can’t know what will come. I always say that with lots of problems, have to come lots of solutions, and the only thing that limits how many problems you solve is how many problems there are. As with each generation that has come before us, we as Millennials have the duty (and the opportunity) to make something of ourselves and of the world. That possibility is ours to chase, and ours to achieve. We hope you will join in with us Millennials here at Medici Project as we endeavor to pursue love, service, justice, and the gospel to the betterment of our world.

If you ask us, these are some things to be proud of:

– 61% of millennials are worried about the state of the world and feel personally responsible to make a difference. [Huffington Post]
– 54% either want to start a business or already have started one. [Kauffman Foundation]
– 81% have donated money, goods or services. [Walden University and Harris Interactive]
– 39% of Millennials have a tattoo. [Pew Research] (0% of Medici Project staff; are we missing out?)
– 100% of Millennials have the potential to do something good. [Medici Project]

Sources & Further Reading:

20 Things 20 Year-olds Don’t Get
Why Millennials Are Immature, Entitled and the Best Hire
74 Of The Most Interesting Facts About The Millennial Generation
22 Shocking Stats About Millennials to Help You Chart Tomorrow’s Change

Image used under Creative Commons License courtesy of Joe Clay: http://ow.ly/vHnjD