The Misunderstood Millennial – A Teacher’s Perspective

 I learned…It’s not important how you see but what you perceive. A situation that appears to be topsy-turvy to you could be perfectly straight to the other person. Stay focused and don’t lose your cool! Everything will ultimately appear straight! – Aarti Sunil Kanal

12th June 2019 – this date marks a milestone in my life.
12th June 1989 – exactly 3 decades ago, I embarked on my journey as a teacher. And, what a fulfilling journey this has been!

People would probably immediately react by saying, “Oh! You have imparted so much knowledge to so many kids!” Not wrong. But more than that, I must humbly admit, I have ‘learnt’ so much from so many kids. In the past 3 decades, I have witnessed the youth changing, competing, emerging – hence, I am filled with so much awe and admiration for the ‘new millennials’!

It’s true, I sincerely admire the youth of today. Did you ask, “Despite what they are?”  To which I will reply, “No, because of what they are!”

The easiest topic for people of my generation to discuss is, “Oh, Kids of today!”  I, too, love this topic, the only difference being, I say, “OH, WOW! Kids of today!”

I feel overwhelmed when I reconnect with students whom I taught more than 25 years ago. It is indeed a pride to see how they have evolved as strong individuals with clear values, a distinct vision and the courage to stand up for the right.

The new millennial, in my opinion, is, unfortunately, the most ‘misunderstood’ millennial!

Let’s look at the world from their perspective…

While we adults often take really long (sometimes forever, too) to forgive and forget, the young generation keeps no grudges. We fake words and term it, ‘diplomacy’, but they will not mince words nor be afraid to call a rose a rose and a thorn by its name.

We, for various reasons, enjoy gossiping, but they abhor it – and especially when it is about a close relative, friend or someone dear. And yet, how conveniently we accuse them of having ‘no respect’ for relationships.

Our parents proudly distributed sweets (or the famous laddoos of every Indian household) when we achieved a mere 60% in our exams. But, when our children score a whopping 98%, we blatantly ask, “Where did you lose the 2%?”

As kids of the ’70s and the ’80s, we conveniently got into fields of Arts, Commerce or Science and walked with our heads high. However, the youngsters of today have to struggle and compete to prove themselves in this tough competitive era in order to pave their own paths. Yet, how effortlessly, we often look down upon them and discount their independent battles.

I strongly believe that the new generation is dynamic, sincere and bold enough to take risks and succeed – yet, they are the most misunderstood, by us.

Looking back in the days, I recollect how most of our parents never compared us to themselves…nor kept reminding us of how much they do for us. In fact, they NEVER MENTIONED IT (let your brains hurt as you try to recall such an incident!) But, we, grab every chance to remind our kids that we are working hard to earn money for THEM!!

It’s time…it’s high time we keep our minds and hearts open to understand, appreciate and accept the new millennial.

While we sneer at them for being addicted to technology, we need to reflect on our own deeds. Since it’s ‘our generation’ that has provided them with this menace, it’s no brain-wreck to wonder who the actual culprit for their advanced lifestyle is.

We proudly say, ‘We are what we are because of what our parents have taught us!’

But, think about it – Are we as good as our parents were?

The new millennial…they are different…so were we!

(Aarti Sunil Kanal is an educationist since 1989, with a passion for training students for elocutions, debates, drama etc, and has worked as a teacher in Mumbai and in Dubai. Presently, she is an Educational Supervisor in a reputed school in Dubai.

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Aarti Sunil Kanal