I keep reading about the “millennial” generation. I keep reading that they are lazy, that they expect to be given things they haven’t earned. I have read that they are self-obsessed, that they can’t look away from their phones. I have read that they just do not want to work.
I’m the mother of three millennials, so maybe I’m a little bit biased.
But I’m here right now to write about two young men who are not my own. I don’t really know either one. I think, though, that they are a great representation of the so-called “millennial generation.”
The first young man is someone that I casually ran into at our local farmer’s market. I was there to buy early vegetables, but as I passed the table where he stood, we made eye contact. I smiled, he smiled back.
He was a young man, obviously slightly nervous to be talking to total strangers. He stood behind a long table that held what looked to me to be compost bins. He had a few piles of papers in front of him.
There were no veggies, so I started to walk by. But his earnestness caught my interest, so I stopped.
“Hi. What do you have here?” I asked, not thinking it would be anything of interest.
Well. I was wrong. This young man, no more than 25 if my guess is right, has started a composting business in our area. Good for you, I thought, but “I’ve been composting for 30 years.” I said.
Ah, but. He asked me about my composting (based on worms, limited to greens, egg shells, some paper and coffee grounds.) His business, he explained, would let me compost meats, dairy, bones, fish, all greens, paper, egg shells…..basically anything except rocks. Even better, all I would have to do is put my compost in one of his buckets, and he’d collect it. After six months, I’d be able to get back compost to use in my garden.
Fireworks of joy burst in my old lady brain. Really? No more turning the pounds of stuff in my yard? No more screening out the rocks, sticks, plastic? Now I could just dump the entire leftover plate into the bin?
This young man comes to pick up my compost by 7AM, once a week. He does all the work. He charges me such a small amount that I dream of helping him with his marketing.
He. Works. Hard.
He’s a millennial.
And today I met another young man. This time I had gone through the state, asking the MASS SAVE program to come out and to an energy audit at my house. It was great (and free) and it found that there were several areas that needed work. The state hired a contractor, and I had no voice in who they chose.
Today, after having spoken to me once on the phone, our contractor arrived.
To my eyes, he was a little kid. He later told me that he is 30, but I wouldn’t have guessed that.
He was here at the crack of dawn. He was polite, kind, thoughtful, and friendly. He was meticulous about not leaving one speck of dust on our floors (even though I pointed out the two dogs, told him about the toddler who’d be here later, and assured him that dirt is part of our life.)
He was so hard working that he turned down a cup of coffee because it might slow him down.
He is a millennial.
The next time I hear someone complaining about these lazy millennials, I will probably blow up and tell them all about these two young businessmen who are working so hard for their families. I will tell them about my own three millennial kids who work to make life better for the communities in which they live.
No generation is better, or smarter, or braver, or lazier than other.
These sweeping generalizations about races, genders, generations are all pointless and meaningless.
All I can tell you, from the vantage point of my 61 years of life, is that there are jerks everywhere. More importantly? There are wonderful, loving, hard working people everywhere who deserve our praise and our support.