Millennials and the Pop Culture (Book Review)

March 1, 2007 | By Bob Schultz

You might not think Millennials and the Pop Culture would be intended for educators. But if you read Neil Howe's article, "Harnessing the Power of Millennials," in the September 2005 issue of The School Administrator, you know he and co-author William Strauss have something to say to us.

By monitoring trends and statistics, conducting extensive surveys and analyzing patterns in our society, Strauss and Howe offer keen insights that allow us to take generational differences into consideration as we work with learners and parents.

According to the authors’ analyses, the future looks promising as we learn Millennials (born between 1982 and today) commit fewer crimes, have lower rates of teen pregnancy and abortion, watch less television, have lower suicide rates and spend more time volunteering than their Generation X predecessors (born between 1961 and ’81). Millennials are more likely to agree with their parents’ world view than any generation since the Silent Generation but already are making it clear they won’t be silent.

Strauss and Howe write: “Millennials will correct for what teens see as the excesses of today’s middle-aged Boomers: narcissism, impatience, iconoclasm, and a constant focus on talk (usually argument) over action. In their ‘rebellion,’ Millennials will opt for the good of the group, patience, conformism and a new focus on deeds over words.”

There are downsides. Although the Millennials want to be active and interactive participants with technology, they aren’t active physically. Obesity and repetitive stress syndrome injuries are on the increase. While conformity and compliance are easier to deal with than self-centered individualism, one wonders whether Millennials will be easier prey for charismatic leaders who may lead them down dangerous paths for society?

Education seems like the best way to help them prepare for and deal with those challenges.