What Expectations Will We Have For The Homeland Generation?
In case you missed The Awl last Friday: the post-Millennial generation has a name.
The Homeland Generation.
This “technically unofficial but totally official” name was revealed at Medium, of all places. (Apparently that’s where the government goes when it needs a gatekeeper-free publication interface; President Obama has his own account.)
The Homeland Generation currently encompasses all children born after January 1, 2005, and I suggest you tab over to Awl editor John Hermann’s analysis of why the name “Homeland Generation” sounds so discomfiting, because I want to switch our conversation to a new question.
What expectations will we have for the Homeland Generation?
This weekend, Pamela Druckerman (author of Bringing Up Bébé, the book which reminded American parents that French children don’t throw tantrums and are able to bake their own cupcakes by age three—and yes, of course I’ve read it) wrote an NYT op-ed titled A Cure for Hyper-Parenting.
Here’s one of her warnings for the parents of the current (possibly “Homeland”) generation:
At age 24, he might be back in his childhood bedroom, in debt, after a mediocre college career. Raise him so that, if that happens, it will still have been worth it.
There’s a lot to unpack there. We can sort through the suitcases in the comments, but take note that Druckerman is actively advising parents to lower their expectations. (If the parents are Gen-Xers or Millennials, it’s likely that their expectations have already been lowered.)
What will we tell our own kids about college, careers, debt, and money? What will we teach them about what matters, in the world? What will we teach them about what makes a good life—to borrow Druckerman’s phrase, what makes it all “worth it?”
Notably, Druckerman didn’t say who should still find the experience “worth it.” Taken in context, I suspect she means the parents. Raise your kid in such a way that if he grows up indebted and mediocre, you’ll still feel like the sacrifices of parenting were worth it. (Again: so much to unpack here.)
I’d like to imagine a slightly different interpretation. How about: Parents, raise your children in such a way that, if they end up indebted, in their childhood bedrooms, and with not many career prospects on the horizon, they’ll still feel like they’re worth something. Raise them so they’ll still feel like finding something worth doing with their lives.
Since I’m not a parent, I’ll turn the conversation over to you. Do you expect your children to grow up and have the same types of opportunities that previous generations enjoyed? (Waving the intersectionality banner: I’m well aware that the answer to this question is complex and encompasses many types of opportunity.) How do you talk to your kids about the future and what to expect from adulthood?
Also: if any nine-year-olds are reading The Billfold, please tell us about your generation in the comments.