I watched Obama’s first public appearance since his presidency and was really pleased to hear him say he has confidence that young people—a panel of which was on the stage with him(basically millennials 18-34)—are his hope for a better future. You’re probably tired of hearing me preach this.
Millennials appear to be a rather bi-polar lot. They have been accused of being entitled and coddled. That’s certainly true for some as a pretty large percentage of, especially white males, are not working or in school. Of course they did not entitle or coddle themselves. But more and more we hear about young people who are tolerant to diversity, open-minded, and are getting involved civically and in their communities. If Obama’s panel of millennials are at all representative there are many bright young people who want to make and are making a difference.
As always, education (which involves READING, as pointed out by Obama and concurred by his panel), is always given as the answer to engaging people and opening up their minds. The challenge, they agreed, is how to reach millennials and young adults when social media dominates their landscape. What they get are snippets of information that only supports beliefs they already hold and may have been given to them rather than procured autonomously by themselves.
A study by the National Endowment for the Arts showed 40% of all Americans under 44 did not read a single book—fiction or non-fiction—over the course of a year! I’m sorry, but as an old (yah, yah I guess hitting 70 this year implies I am getting old…not there yet, tho) so let’s say ex-teacher of literature, I am appalled. You grow and learn from reading books. If you have a child or grandchild 44 or under buy em a book, read it first (you might as well start with “Will” since it’s intended for them) and hit them over the head with it until they read it. Then talk to them about it. It’ll be fun and worthwhile.
My belief is that they need to read more than a Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook post to open up their minds…that fiction can be enjoyable to read, if a good story, and yet can get them to think for themselves. THINK! I’m hoping people find “Will” interesting and gives them something to think about. “Will” is selling, but it appears only to adults, which is fine of course. Amazon has given it a 4.7 out 5 stars, based on reviews. But, honestly, I had millennials in mind when I wrote it, and that’s where I’m hoping it can make a difference… IF you or I can get them to read it. They’re a hard demographic to reach and social media is not my forte.
So, in the next few “What If” blogs, I’ll slip in short snippets from “Will.” And point out some of the issues that bother Will. If you know any mill”s (or adults), please refer them here to check out my blogs. The “Angels and Assholes” from last year and this year’s “What If’s” are all there, as will be the new ones. Thanks for reading this if you got this far.
P.S. It is available as an e-book, and, since I plan on doing some more book clubs, some involving millennials, you can get a 25% discount by ordering a book off my website and putting “bookclub” in as a discount code (even if we’re not doing a book club). Otherwise it’s available from any of the normal outlets.