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Generation Me Response

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It is very apparent that today’s generation has changed greatly since generation of the “baby boomers”. Children in the current generation are coming into a completely different world than it was just 30 years ago. From almost every kid owning a cell phone, televisions being flat, and social networking, it is obvious this isn’t the same world that our grandparents, and even our parents were raised in. Looking back at the generation of the “baby boomers”, it’s hard to even imagine what life would have been like. The “boomers” grew up in a time of where war was an occurring thing, from World War I, World War II, and even the war in Vietnam. They grew up in the time of the great depression, where bread lines and soup kitchens were a part of many families’ lives. Even technology was far from what it is today. Families were lucky to have one television in their house, people actually used land-line telephones, and a person having a cell phone was unlikely. The book Generation Me does a great job of pointing out any difference between the “boomer” generation, and generation “me”. From the way kids are taught in school, the way kids treat other people, and even the attitude about one’s self has completely changed. The author, Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D., notices every minor change that has occurred between the two generations, and comprised a book that will have you noticing things about yourself that you may have never noticed before.

The book starts out with the notion that kids these days are taught to be their selves and not care what others think. Parents of the generation me children teach their kids to do whatever makes them happy, and giving them the idea that “your way is the right way”. Also a main focus that parents and teachers both focus on is teaching the children to love themselves for who they are and have a high self-esteem. Generation me kids took these idea and ran with it. Kids these days are more individualistic than any other generation in the past. From infants, children are taught to make their own decisions, and even have an influence on the decisions made by their family. Toddlers, and even infants, are asked what outfit they would like to wear for the day, even before they can even begin to formulate any type of words or sentences, instead of their parents choosing their outfits for them. Parents and mentors of the children want them to express their selves in any way they want to and be whatever they want to be. They believe that as long their child is expresses themselves as they want, and get what they want, than that will raise the child’s self-esteem.

But with children having a higher self-esteem, not use to hearing “no” and them having an influence in any decision that could involve them, when children enter school it causes some conflicts between the children and teachers. Schools have almost completely changed the way that kids are taught. With the major focus on self-esteem, teaching had been modified not to let the kids down. Schooling has almost given the children in the generation “me” the idea that grades are “given” and not “earned”. With children making more and more decisions for themselves, getting a child to want to do homework is hard.

Parents don’t want to enforce any will upon their child because they are afraid of it hurting their self-esteem. With parents and teachers not pushing the children to do their school work and focusing so much on not hurting the kid’s self-esteem, teachers are almost forced to give the children a good grade even if the child deserves to fail. The book states the idea that teacher would rather focus on self-esteem, than giving the children a good education and preparing them for the harsh reality of the outside world. “Children shouldn’t be challenged to try things that others in the class are not ready for, since that would promote competition, and competition is bad for self-esteem” as stated in the book. Throughout Generation Me, it is evident that self-esteem, and individuality plays a very strong part in the way we were raised, and the way we act.

An idea from the book that seemed very true was that children in the generation “me” are set up for failure in life and for their dreams to be crushed. Growing up, children’s heads are drilled with phrase “you can be anything that would want to be”. Going through schooling, and never having much resistant from any authority, and constantly being re-assured that no matter how they do, whether it’s; pass, fail, win, or loose, they always did a great job and did their best is far from the harsh reality of “life.” When kids are told that they can be anything they want, and do whatever they want, they believe that they really can be the next “Bill Gates” or the next “Michael Jordan”, or even get into any college they want to. They believe this until realty strikes. Children are never told that there are thousands of kids with the same dream as they have, or that some Ivy League schools accept less than 15% of all of their applicants, many valedictorians, and students in the top of their class. Children are never taught to be competitive in life. They are simply handed what they want and when entering the working world full of “boomers”, everything changes.

This change can even be detrimental to their self-esteem. The average level of education has even changed since the “baby boomer” generation. It was completely normal for members of the “boomers” to stop education after high school, and expect to make a decent living. Today, in order to get a well-paying job, most jobs require a college degree, and even a master’s degree. Since the cost of living has increased dramatically, this puts a lot of stress on kids to go to college so that they will maybe be able to afford a house and support a family. Generation Me has also pointed out that families are a lot different than they were in the “boomer” generation. “Boomers” believed in settling down early and starting a family. That’s not the same view that generation “me” members see themselves doing. With individuality and self-esteem playing a big role, adults in their 20’s believe that instead of settling down so fast and making a family like the “boomers” did, they should explore and date around to find exactly what they are looking for in a person.

After all, members in the “me” generation are taught to have exactly what they want. This means that that average age for people settling down and starting families had gone up. Even the amount of unmarried people has gone up. The book gives a few explanations as to why this could be happening, from stress of getting a good education, finding a well-paying job that would support themselves, let alone a whole family. Another reason could be that maybe since “me’ers” are taught to find and go after what they want, they never find the person that they connect with. This is a major change from the “baby boomer generation” and those with religious backgrounds where marriage and having a partner we almost necessary and sometimes even arranged by parents.

Although the people generation “me” have been so focused on having a high self-esteem, and doing what makes them happy, there has been a noticeably drastic change in how people feel about themselves. One points made in the book is that the people in the generation “me” are a lot more depressed, have more anxiety, and are a lot more unsure about their future. This could be due to many factors in the way they were brought up, and the world they were brought up in. As stated earlier in the book, people getting out of high school and entering college, or the working world face many stressful situations such as getting accepted into the school they want, finding a job, and competing with the other “well-qualified” “me’ers”. The members of this generation have a lot of built up anxiety when waiting for that letter saying they got accepted to the college they want, and even make it worse when thinking about a letter saying they didn’t get accepted. When raising the generation “me”, parents never thought that teaching their children to have such a high self-esteem would cause problems such as depression and anxiety, but in reality it was just that that caused such a down-turn in the way the “me’ers” saw themselves.

Another drastic change that the members in generation me have bared witness too is equality amongst everyone. Unlike the “baby boomers”, who saw segregated schools, and were taught that women were to stay at home to cook, clean, and raise children, generation “me” is all about equality. We now have an African-American president, many ceo and high-ranking positions are held by women, and there is not a single segregated school. This is a far change from any past generation, and could probably be one of the most beneficial changes that has come from this new generation.

Generation Me does a great job at noticing the good, the bad, and the ugly changes that has occurred since the past generation. This book has helped me even notice things about myself that I never took the time to think about, and all the points that the author, Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D., makes are valid points, and obvious changes since past generations. I completely agree with every point that the author has made, and can personally relate to this book.

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