Thursday, August 5, 2010

The City of the Millennial(s)

My Thursday post is up on the DMN book club blog. The theme for today is Generations, Religion, or Family Values. Or perhaps, I made that up kinda like eyewitness testimony is less factual and more influenced by "lowest personal culpability compatible with credibility" as Tom Vanderbilt cites in Traffic about interviews with those involved in car accidents. Enough rambling, an excerpt from today's entry entitled, "The City of the Millennial(s):"
The parents, now grandparents, are put into homes where their entire mobility is dependent upon their own diminishing driving capacity. They lose their independence and vigor and are effectively warehoused. The children, the latch key kids are bused to/from school, which increasingly look more and more like warehouses than prideful centers of community (with nothing to say about what busing does to school budgets), and thereby limited to where they can go within the reach of foot or bike in the gated community. They become dependent upon working mom and/or dad to get anywhere, stunting the growth of their own responsibility.

What if this trend line towards more broken homes does not reverse and thus extends toward infinity like the rest of his assumptions? Millennials, ever the social creatures, have found family by proxy. Not only are they willing to live in multi-generational households, but also they are also more willing to take on roommates. This possibly is partly due to a laggard economy. Another piece of the puzzle is their desire to extend their more collectivist college lifestyle into their new professional world. This also could possibly be indicative of their extended adolescence that some psychologists suggest now last into their early thirties, particularly for males (my sister had a term for these types, "boy babies" - I'm sure women frustrated with the immaturity of their dates, my girlfriend included, can commiserate). Remember their stunted maturation of personal responsibility from the "family-friendly" gated communities?