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I was raised to challenge authority…

April 16, 2009

Who’s heard this statement before from a Millennial (Gen Y)… “I was raised to challenge authority?”  I must admit even as a generational consultant when I hear that from a Millennial it gets under my skin.  The truth is I was raised the same way and don’t want Millennials to lose that part of themselves but the disconnect seems to be regarding respect, or lack thereof.   

This week, when dealing with a college student, I was informed by them that they was raised to challenge authority.  My comment back was “that’s fine, but there is a respectful and disrespectful way to go about challenging authority.”  Our conversation went back and forth for awhile and in the end I don’t think the student learned anything.  The student gave the impression that her parents (I’m assuming young boomers, but don’t know for sure) backed her actions and comments completely and she’s probably right. 

When I give presentations and speeches about understanding the generations an inevitable question I get is “Why are these Millennials this way?”  My response is always a funny, bang on the podium “blame the parents” answer.  But it’s true – parents are more in touch, in contact and in control of this generation than previous ones.  And while parents are giving their children valuable tools to be successful in life they are in some cases forgetting the tool box – the respect (and how to use that respect to their advantage) that goes with their ideas, thoughts, opinions and ability to challenge authority.

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One comment

  1. good stuff, sbr.



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