My kids are millennials. Their friends are millennials. And this morning I read a truly inspiring op-ed piece in the Dallas Morning News written by a millennial. I have been and remain so incredibly impressed by these young adults. They are smart, creative, industrious and have amazing work ethics.
The world is both bigger and smaller for them than it was for my baby boomer generation. Bigger because connectivity and social media have provided them with an awareness that stretches beyond their own comfortable communities. Knowledge of inequality, discrimination and hardships across the world has become daily food for thought.
And smaller because the possibilities of travel, experience and growth render the rest of the world more accessible. They cannot go about their days without the understanding they can make a difference, not just in their local communities, but in the larger world community as well. This puts a burden on them as a generation that my generation did not have to carry in the same way. We were less informed. The troubles throughout the world felt less immediate.
These young people compete for opportunities, strive for success and recognize the need to make meaningful contributions.
They are admirable.
But so was the previous generation and the subsequent generation as well. The dissimilarity between whole generations of people is small. It is the differences between individuals that remains strong.
In every generation there are heroes. There are leaders and there are those who prefer to move quietly along. There are speakers and listeners.
Some will always speak up.
Some will always sit back.
J.R.R. Tolkien, lauded author of The Fellowship of the Ring shared this lesson through the words of the revered wizard Gandalf with Frodo, a heroic hobbit.
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
Tough times may lie ahead for all of us, but I put my faith in all the generations to come. I trust there will always be heroic individuals willing to do what is necessary with the time that is given them.