Issues and Challenges Facing Generation Y
Generation Y’s entire foundation seems to be made up of issues and challenges. Each issue is unique and poses a different threat for the generation, some are physical, some are financial and others are environmental threats. Our reliance on mood altering substances and the media are two of the biggest challenges facing Generation Y. However, upon closer examination each individual issue can be linked back to a singular root, low self-esteem.
Low self-esteem is a massive piece of our generation. This characteristic tends to be overlooked until catastrophes such as those at Virginia Tech and Columbine occur. Some argue that we are just a bunch of whiners. In reality however, Generation Y is a generation that is seriously unbalanced. We are ‘wanters’, not whiners. We have needs and wants that are difficult to satiate. Some may feel that we need constant pacifying to be satisfied when really it’s all about us obtaining what we want and what we need. It seems to be that if this need or want cannot be fulfilled we turn to other things. Some fill this lack of fulfillment with ambition, sex, drugs, alcohol and others with consumerism. This constant desire cannot be healthy.
Many people see our generation as overly confident and sometimes cocky and I would agree that our generation does have this feeling of entitlement, but it relates back to that want factor. Our generation, to put it bluntly, is spoiled. Our parents, our teachers, our games, our media have always given us attention and praise. For some, this goes straight to their heads and their egos explode. Others take the praise and run with it, they learn from it because “[t]here is tremendous power in optimism and confidence”. (Erikson, 232) Not only do they accept themselves as unique individuals, they learn humility, and they can accept others as well because they’ve always been exposed to this concept.
However, in addition to those who use their praise to boost their egos and to learn there are the individuals who fail and do not receive praise. If an individual doesn’t get what he or she desires or needs, they seem to be immediately crestfallen. The school systems and homes have trained us to be this way via their systems of rewards and punishments. This system is taught to us, beaten into our brains through grading and through household rules and over time we become heavily reliant on it. If we aren’t rewarded there really doesn’t seem to be a point in trying again. If we aren’t told that what we are doing is useful or quality work we lose that strength and vigor and could care less about carrying on, let alone trying again. It seems hard for us to grasp the concept that failure is not the end of the world, not yet anyways. Failure is merely a technique to learn how to succeed.
On top of this unhealthy desire of wants and needs that is fueled by the corrupt system of rewards and punishments. We are heavily dependent on media because it is...