I will be the first to admit, I easily become very gloom and doom when looking at the state of our nation, especially when I talk about Millennials and Generation Z. I know young people get a bad rep – and to be fair – they deserve it. Seeing as I am technically on the older end of these self-described “woke” generations apparently wiser than their forebears, I can call it as I see it.
Millennials do you have a bad rap
They are the first generations since our nation’s inception to protest for their rights to be taken away, who see kneeling during the anthem as a productive avenue for change, and are so emotionally weak they utilize university sponsored coloring pages, cry-ins and safe spaces to protect them from words they don’t like.
Since less than a third of Millennials say the United States is the greatest country in the world and in need of drastic change, they gather in droves to support a “new” system of government; a system already responsible for the deaths of over 100 million people.
Want responsible employees ? Don’t hire a Millennial. As the least engaged generations in the workforce, you can count on Millennials and Gen Z to call in sick more than their older co-workers. They also value “paid vacation time [as] their top priority”, double the previous generations. (How else will they find time to Instagram all their activism?)
You see what I mean.
Are we doomed as a society? Have respect, responsibility, and a basic understanding of history been completely lost on the Me Me Me Generations? Do they realize just how fortunate they are to live in this place and at this time?
But there is hope
One evening I was at the local high school practicing my swings. Being new to the game of tennis I was a bit sheepish when I saw three teenagers playing a few courts away. As I awkwardly competed against the wall, often times losing, I felt a little out of place with the boys half my age nearby, who obviously knew what they were doing.
The football field close by had a frenzy of activity: football practice, coaches, pump-up music. Then out of nowhere a young man (with a fantastic voice by the way) started to sing the national anthem over the loudspeaker. I was getting into my groove, in the middle of a decent rally when I turned towards the sound. My conscience told me to stop and pay my respects to the flag and what it represented, even right there in the middle of the tennis court. This was something I’d seen my husband do since we met: driving in a car, at a game, in our home.
But I was annoyed. I picked-up another ball and kept with my game.
No one is watching me, it’s not a real event, they’re just practicing the anthem – it doesn’t really count!
About six seconds later guilt crept in as I remembered that barely a week prior, my husband and I took our young children to visit a Veteran’s Cemetery to honor Memorial Day. I shed tears walking through the quiet grave site, taking notice of headstones for those that died young – and those that had no name. My mind also recalled that the 75th anniversary of D-Day was that very day, and I left my husband watching the televised commemoration for a most-deserving tribute to what I agree, is indeed, “The Greatest Generation.”
Ooook, I thought, those guys jumped out of ships and planes into gun fire and mortar, crawled over the bodies of their buddies towards what was almost certain death – I can stop for two minutes to show some gratitude.
What I saw left me stunned
So I did. Standing erect I fixed my eyes to the back of the bleachers because, if I’m being honest, I wanted to avoid eye contact with the high schoolers to my left; I was embarrassed. Anxious, I waited for the song to hurry up and finish (I know, I’m swell) when my eyes veered to the side. Then I saw it.
All three boys were standing still, poised and composed looking towards the field, right hands over their hearts. My heart swelled – with 40% shame and 60% gratitude. No one was watching them. It was not a real event. They were only practicing the anthem. It didn’t really count.
Except it did.
Our country is not lost. There are young people who get it, whose parents have taught them about the flag, and the many, many, who have sacrificed. Young people who understand how blessed they are to live in this amazing nation, who understand and value freedom. And that gives me hope.
What you can do
-Educate yourself on the history, especially the founding of our nation. Here are some great places to start: Hillsdale College, PragerU, Learn Our History, Drive Thru History Adventures.
-Educate your children on American history. Time spent on social studies and history is getting squeezed out by other subjects, don’t depend on schools to teach it; incorporate it in your homes through books, movies, museums, and memorials.
-Mentor youth in anyway you can. Sports teams, scouts, church, kids in your neighborhood; be a positive influence and find opportunities to express why you’re grateful for this nation.
-Share on social media why you love this country.
-Pray for our country.