Get down with the kids

I’ve been thinking about the Millennials. They get so much criticism, don’t they? I can hear the likes of our Leapy Lee and his idol Richard Littlejohn grumbling “don’t know they’re born, do they ‘eh? They should be forced to do National Service, blah blah”. Donald Trump, who Lee and Richard probably admire was a draft dodger, let’s not mention that though!

What made me think about the Millennials was something my American friend posted on his Facebook page, “This is so not fair for high school seniors who had their prom and graduation ceremonies taken away from them. Being born after 9/11 and growing up with wanton violence, only to enter adulthood amidst a worldwide pandemic. They really got the bad end of the stick here.”

I thought you know what, he’s right. All I’d seen up until then was criticism of our youth. Comparing the Pandemic to the War or shortages in the 70s. The old ‘they should just get on with it because we had it worse’ attitude. You cannot compare this Pandemic to the War. In the War, what kept people going was community spirit. There is no community now, we are all separated. I think back to when I was a young woman – I lived for the weekends and my friends. For as much as I loved my parents, the last thing I wanted to be doing was stuck indoors watching Saturday night TV with them!

This is possibly the most mentally challenging thing our kids will ever have to go through. I think it’s great how the Millennials are coping. Yes, they may have taken to Instagram to post selfies of themselves in daft face masks. I’ve heard about some bizarre challenge they’re doing about not showering too! But generally, they’re sticking to the social distancing rules. Inside. Making their own memories. It’s middle-aged people who don’t seem to be able to stay indoors. I’m seeing photographs of them in the media, not the kids.

I also saw a suggestion that we clap for our children one night. Not a bad idea at all. This may not be an actual war for them, but it’s just as challenging. If we can’t clap, just appreciate the effort they are making, by staying away from everything that’s normal at their age.  As the Queen said, “Those who come after us will say the Britons of this generation were as strong as any. That the attributes of self-discipline, of quiet good-humoured resolve and of fellow feeling still characterise this country. The pride in who we are is not a part of our past, it defines our present and our future.”

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Julie Frank