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Generation Nice

August 19, 2014 | Karin

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Generation Screwed. Now, “Generation Nice?” That’s what New York Times article calls millennials. Lots of interesting parts of this article on the estimated 80 million people in this cohort. For example, apparently 12 percent of us are “faithful vegetarians.” The article begins by describing a national fascination with us:

Coddled and helicoptered, catered to by 24-hour TV cable networks, fussed over by marketers and college recruiters, dissected by psychologists, demographers and trend-spotters, the millennial generation has come fully into its own. The word “millennial,” whether as noun or adjective, has monopolized the nonstop cultural conversation, invariably freighted with zeitgeisty import.

It attempts to answer this question:

But first, what besides youth sets millennials apart from their elders — the wizened silent generation, the graying boomers, the midlife Gen-X’ers?

The answer?

Taken together, these habits and tastes look less like narcissism than communalism. And its highest value isn’t self-promotion, but its opposite, empathy — an open-minded and -hearted connection to others.

What do you think sets millennials apart? Regardless, millennials are characterized as optimists:

No wonder, then, that “millennials are the nation’s most dogged optimists,” as Pew reported in a new study this spring. “They believe their own best days are ahead.”

That optimism will serve us well, no matter what we are labeled.

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