Talkin’ ‘Bout this Generation

A friend and former graduate school labmate of mine has been consistently posting great, articles on the coronavirus for the past few weeks. His commentary on one of the articles he posted yesterday caught my attention.

“I’m getting real tired of media stories talking about the lackadaisical Millennials spreading SARS-CoV-2. With anecdotal observations from the President about young people gathering (“I see they do gather”) to pictures and quotes from spring breakers. Millennials are 26-38 years-old. They aren’t college kids. They aren’t on spring break. They are working in hospitals and grocery stores, checking in on their elderly parents, and homeschooling their kids right now.”

As a cusp generation baby myself (splitting down the GenX/Millennial divide) my initial reaction was “Hell Yeah!” This isn’t us. This is those damn GenZer’s. I was as ready and eager to point the finger at the generation following mine, as the Boomers were to point at us.

Why is this the consistent pattern?

Why is it that it’s always those youngin’s causing issues?

The truth might hurt a little here… but young people are often the issue.

There is a reason that car insurance is highest for drivers that are young men. Teens always have, and always will, think they are invincible and should have the right to do as they please. (Wow…..I can almost hear my parents’ voice coming out of my own right now).

The reality is, it’s not totally the fault of teenagers.  

Children (up and inclusive of young adults) are little bundles of instinct. The frontal lobe that allows adults to operate as logical, thoughtful humans, isn’t yet fully developed in children under the age of 25. And that frontal lobe is critical in, among other things:

  • working through conflicting thoughts
  • determining moral versus immoral behaviors
  • understanding consequences and goals
  • planning future expectations
  • reasoning

If you’re under 25, you have an excuse. The rest of us have a responsibility, and that responsibility extends to holding our kids (and young adults) to the higher powers of the executive functioning brains, of which, we are all in possession.

When we don’t hold ourselves and our loved ones of any age accountable for maintaining social distancing and extra rounds of handwashing, we are gambling with people’s lives.

Please don’t let your instincts run your decisions at this time. As young people, you are as responsible as the rest of us for thinking bigger – even if that means postponing your fun. As more mature adults, we are responsible for holding these young people to higher standards. They truly may not be biologically capable to reason the same way as us, but that doesn’t mean we should give in to our instincts and needs to be “liked.” We are all going to have to make sacrifices.  Let’s find ways to come together to educate, inform, and keep our entire community safe – regardless of age.

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