There is a dark, devastating disease taking over twenty-somethings far and wide. It is leaving others laying in its wake, it is causing people to look the other way and it is slowly but surely causing the older and wiser generations to look at 20-somethings in disgust. What I am talking about, my friends, is narrow-mindedness.
According to Merriam-Webster, narrow-minded is not willing to accept opinions, beliefs, or behaviors that are unusual or different from your own, or lacking in tolerance or breadth of vision.
I just can’t keep quiet about this. When did this happen and why, oh why, is this characteristic so prevalent in millennials? Your 20s are a time of discovery and self-expression. This is the decade in which you decide, or refuse to decide, which political party you identify with. You start to develop your beliefs, you picket outside of the local fur coat store or you dive into a debate over the War in Afghanistan feet-first. You might start your journey with God during this time, or end it, if that is right for you. You start to learn about the foods you’re eating and maybe you read articles about the chemicals in bread and you stop eating it. Maybe you start thinking that college isn’t for you and instead want to invest wholeheartedly in being a wife and mother. Maybe you start reading the classics, fighting for gay rights or believe CrossFit is the be-all-end-all for fitness. Whatever it is you start believing in, be passionate about it; just don’t forget to have respect for other people’s views and opinions as well.
I guess my realization of this new, intense way of millennial narrow-mindedness came from the many social media sites that give us a platform to express our opinion to hundreds or thousands of “friends.” All of a sudden, “Darla” is blowing up my news feed with her hourly posts on health care reform and, well, I won’t even comment on that one. One scroll down and “Jamie” has a paragraph long explanation on why women who work when they have children are neglecting them and the babysitter is the one actually raising them, therefore, according to “Jamie,” if you work, you shouldn’t have children. (Bless her heart.) One more scroll down and you are guaranteed to find some tool on your news feed who needs to make his daily complaint about all the people who post a status about being healthy and going to the gym because it is just so unbearably annoying. Switch on over to Instagram because you just can’t take reading the never ending opinions from the peanut gallery and you are greeted with a meme of Jesus with his hand out and the text “It’s Sunday, give me your money,” because the user believes in evolution (and corruption of the church I assume) which apparently requires them to portray that belief in the most offensive way possible.
I guess I just feel the need to remind those twenty-somethings (note: I know none of our sweet darling readers are like this, just pass the PSA along, please) to mind their manners. When you have a strong opinion about something, the polite thing to do is express it respectfully. A lot of intellectual people would probably enjoy having a nice discussion with someone who has difference of opinion on various topics; I know I would. There is a way to go about expressing your belief in veganism without telling me I am going to hell for having a steak. Let’s be respectful of other’s opinions and have some good discussions.
We are all twenty-somethings, and therefore it is impossible for us to know it all, so why do we sometimes act like such know-it-alls? How does one feel compelled to so strongly give their opinion on motherhood when they don’t even have children? How can you tell me God isn’t real when I believe? Some of my closest friends have different political views than I do and because of our mutual respect for each other’s intelligence and opinion, we are able to talk open-mindedly to each other about everything. I urge you to try to see things from another person’s perspective. Talk about your differences instead of bashing them. Have a great conversation with someone who thinks differently and maybe you’ll learn something new, and maybe the conversation will be thought-provoking in you both. Open your mind to the diversity that is what makes this country beautiful. Respect your fellow twenty-somethings and try to be open to new ideas and ways. You never know—you might just change your mind on some topics and hey, that’s OK, too.
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