[The Listserve] Millennials and snowflakes

Richard Fairchild
10/20/2017
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I always wondered what I’d write if I won. And two years after joining, here it is…

Something that’s been on my mind, frequently of late, is our desire to put everything into two clear categories, as though those were the only choices in politics and social issues. Not only that, but once we’ve established those categories, we tend to dehumanize the other side. It becomes impossible to have an honest dialogue once we’ve decided that the other side is full of idiots…or worse… Not only that, but once we’ve framed an issue as only having two sides, it’s impossible to discuss without exploring other angles. Such as…what if we could discuss Antifa and Neo-Nazis, but not in the same breath, and not as part of the same conversation? What if each was a three dimensional issue composed of people whose lives are as complex as ours? What if there were highly educated individuals in the opposite political party who just happen to view the world differently, but with their own set of good reasons?

It changes how we talk to each other. And raises the importance of dialogue.

Or take millennials. I’m Gen X, and I remember how our generation was supposed to be a total failure. And now the headlines say the same about Millennials. Can I let you in on a secret? They (or you!) are a million times stronger than we give them credit for. They aren’t failing, or weak, or ruining everything in life. They’re fixing our problems. They create safe spaces not because they can’t handle reality, but because their generation has said, “This is not acceptable. We reject this way of thinking.” As a teacher and coach, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with young people with outstanding character and goals, but those don’t fit well in evening sound bites on the news, and so we distill everything to just one label, and headlines letting us know exactly what millennials have ruined now. Last I heard it was our concept of beauty, go figure. They’re challenging the world and making it a better place.

I know, I just called out generalizations and then tossed out my own. But I feel a constant need to challenge images I see in the news.

Please be kind. Every night I ask my kids what they did today that was kind. They have to be very specific, or I challenge them for the following day.

Perfect hardboiled eggs: Heat the water to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer and add the eggs. Splash in some vinegar, maybe 1/2c for 6 eggs? I’ve never measured. Simmer for 14 minutes, and then remove to an ice bath. The shells practically slide right off.

As I’m writing this, I’ve just learned that a good friend passed away. We haven’t spoken directly in a while, only through FB. We never had that last coffee we tried to schedule. Call your friends. Seriously, pick one and call them today.

Join in on the Birthday Project, you can Google it. Instead of waiting for the world to cater to me on that day, I’ll be spending my birthday trying to make the world a better place because I exist, one kind act for each year I’ve been alive. I need 38 this year - help me out and do something unusual for someone. It’s an odd tradition and my family doesn’t fully understand it, but especially as I get older I find that I enjoy my birthday on deeper level.

It’s been a pleasure,

Richard Fairchild
Phoenix, AZ
richard.fairchild@yahoo.com

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