October 7 – Our Families: Attitudes of Generations

Entitled or Misunderstood?

Vital Sign Religious Freedom

A New York Post article in March 2022 said millennials are “a very entitled generation that has never had to sacrifice.” The article also suggested that inflation and high gas prices are forcing this generation of young Americans to “learn the pain of not being able to buy things at the store.” The author also said that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has “put an end to the globalization we have experienced over the last three decades,” a political construct they think millennials prefer.

On the other hand, an article in Business Insider says, “For the first time in America’s history, an entire generation of her citizens are poorer, more indebted, and less employed than the preceding generations,” referring to millennials. In fact, the authors, both millennials, said, “Our generation has been called ‘entitled.’ We beg to differ. If any generation is entitled, it’s our parents’, and grandparents’ generation: the baby boomers.”

A posting on Reddit in April 2022, by a millennial, said that “entitled” millennials are a myth, created by boomers and, to a lesser extent, Gen X.

For whatever reason, millennials have been stereotyped as lazy, procrastinators, and expecting much for little output. A 2019 article in Psychology Today says, “millennials have adapted to the trends of the times in which they were raised. …There are options at [their] disposal that never existed in prior generations.”

Millennials are the nation’s most educated generation. According to research conducted by the Pew Research Center and NPR, 39 percent possess a bachelor’s degree or higher in comparison to 29 percent of Generation X, and 25 percent of Boomers.

They are the most diverse. A Brookings Institution study in 2018 found that 44 percent are members of a minority group. They spent more on health and fitness than other generations, and are open to psychological therapy or mental health services.

A Pew Research study found that, together with Generation Z, Millennials generally stand for climate change activism and other social issues. Fully 64 percent of millennials supported the Green New Deal.

An article in the Philanthropy News Digest contends that Millennials are shifting the landscape of social change. According to the report, Millennials view all their assets — time, skills, talent, money, voice, purchasing power, and ability to network — as being equally valuable; operate as “everyday changemakers” whose social engagement ranges from bidding in online charity auctions to buying from and investing in socially responsible companies; and believe that traditional activism — including voting, petitions, and protests — is the most influential way to bring about change.

When it comes to matters of faith, for years, surveys have indicated that members of the youngest generation of adults in the U.S. are far less likely than older Americans to identify with a religious group. But a major new Pew Research Center survey shows that, as time goes on, the already-large share of religiously unaffiliated Millennial adults is increasing significantly.

A high percentage of younger members of the Millennial generation – those who have entered adulthood in just the last several years – are religious “nones” (saying they are atheists or agnostics, or that their religion is “nothing in particular”). At the same time, an increasing share of older Millennials also identify as “nones,” with more members of that group rejecting religious labels in recent years.

Overall, 35% of adult Millennials (Americans born between 1981 and 1996) are religiously unaffiliated. Far more Millennials say they have no religious affiliation compared with those who identify as evangelical Protestants (21%), Catholics (16%), or mainline Protestants (11%).

Although older generations also have grown somewhat less religiously affiliated in recent years, Millennials remain far more likely to identify as religious “nones.” The 35% of Millennials who do not identify with a religion is double the share of unaffiliated Baby Boomers (17%) and more than three times the share of members of the Silent generation (11%).

While, historically, there have been negative feelings and opinions between generations, the Word of God cautions against snap judgments or engaging in criticism. “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:1-5).

How then should we pray? 

  • For U.S. officials as they implement and promote plans and programs that impact families and generations.
  • For faith community leaders as they seek to reach the current and coming generations for Christ.
  • That the Lord would “turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents” (Malachi 4:6).
  • For Americans to have their hearts softened toward one another, that they would be merciful and gracious toward those identified as “entitled.”
  • For the love of God to increase compassion and understanding across the generations and throughout U.S. society.
  • For a spiritual revival and awakening across the nation so that activism efforts would glorify God and His kindgom.

See previous Pray 7 daily featured readings.

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