An open letter to the older generation

The Mix Staff

To the older generation,

I’m not too sure what you’ve heard about me, but it’s probably not true. From newspaper headlines about youth-on-youth crime, to TV reports about the growing impossibility for my generation to purchase a house – we’re constantly bombarded with negative stories surrounding young people. An instant glance may make you believe that you have me figured out, but I’m smarter and more resilient than you think. Let me explain.

I’m smarter because I have technology (thus the world) at my fingertips. With a few simple clicks, I can tell you who invented airplanes, or what the weather in China is like this time of year, or even how much stock prices are. We’re a generation of smart phones and simplified processes which is often misconstrued as a generation that’s out of touch with reality. In some senses, yes, social media can sometimes get the better of us and we’ll post a picture of a fancy car (that’s not really mine), or share photos where all of them are only of me at my best. But it’s also a great platform to spread awareness on matters that are important, like feminism and racial equality. Hashtags that have helped us create a powerful voice and made the world come together to support campaigns like the Black Lives Matter movement.

I’m smarter because I’m part of a generation that’s open minded, and allows me to learn far more. This is because we don’t solely focus on similarities between us, but fundamentally because of what makes us different. We challenge and observe – digging much deeper than face value. I’m smarter because I’m hungry to learn and develop as a GOOD person.

That being said, being smart doesn’t always mean getting all A*s in GCSEs, sometimes it’s being resourceful and tactful or creative. What you fail to understand is that there are different types of “smart” that shouldn’t be limited to education and the national curriculum. The minute you tell a young person that they can’t do something, or put down their intelligence purely because they fall short of a grade, is the second they shrink their perception of their capabilities (and sometimes aspirations).

I’m resilient because I stay true to myself despite what parents, teachers, politicians or you may have to say. With the growth of social media and a common theme of comparison – it’s easy to follow the path of what others perceive to be beautiful or successful. Another person’s beauty or success doesn’t take away my own beauty or success. I’m resilient because I believe in what makes me different. I’m resilient because others my age aren’t afraid to stand up for me and stand with me.

Success doesn’t always comply with your standards. Success can be building a family of five and being a stay at home mum/dad, or it can be owning a worldwide business, or constantly travelling the world and living from your suitcase. It doesn’t always mean being university educated, with a good job in the city and married by the time you turn 30.

If there’s anything to take away from this letter it’s: do not underestimate our intelligence and capabilities because of youth.

Do not define MY own intelligence, capabilities or measure of success. I define them myself.

Yours truly,

– A 20 something year old.


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Published on 07-Nov-2017