Dear #SnowflakeGeneration

To all the “millenials” (and “liberals”) in my life who are seeing yourselves constantly berated lately as #snowflake and #snowflakegeneration on social media, I saw someone call you that this morning and I didn’t like it.  And it made me want to offer you (and me) a new perspective…

16441016362_88b2e8b6ea_zSnowflakes cannot help that they became snowflakes.  A drop of water doesn’t one day make a conscious decision to freeze and turn into an ice crystal that falls to the ground.  The environment and the atmosphere that drop of water “lives” in forms and shapes it.

(For those of you that need some help better understanding the metaphor, please watch this.)

Snowflakes are pretty f-ing badass if you really think about it. Have you ever seen one? Really looked at it?  They’re one of the most intricate and beautiful phenomenon in nature (imho) and when they band together they form a new kind of beauty that covers mountain ranges and entire cities in not too much time at all.

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Snowflakes are individual.  Not one of them looks exactly like another.  So it’s an oxymoronic insult for someone to use #snowflake to refer to a group of people as exactly the same.

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Snowflakes are fun.

You can build snowmen with them.384814496_66df770b6e_z

You can clump them into a little ball and throw them it at your friend (or your enemy).

Snowflakes have given us sledding and skiing and snowboarding.  They’re the reason for fireplaces and hot chocolate and songs like Jingle Bells.

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Snowflakes are important.

Snowflakes insulate the ground in winter so roots don’t freeze in fields and gardens when temperatures get cold…so living creatures can have food to eat.

Snowflakes eventually melt and run down mountains and soak into the ground so fields can be green and living creatures can have replenished water supplies.

Every year, groups of snowflakes that band together become strong enough to affect business as usual in cities, schools, business and government.

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Without snowflakes, winter would just be grey and cold and not very interesting.  And I don’t care what anyone says, snow days are awesome!

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People all over the world get excited when they see the first snowflakes of the year begin to fill the air and blanket the earth…trust me, I have Instagram and Twitter.  #snow

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So, dear SNOWFLAKES,

Wear that “insulting” moniker with pride.  Reclaim it as your own because when you do, it won’t be an insult anymore.  (See #nastywoman.)

They call you #snowflakes because they think you are too delicate and too precious.  And you are…because all humans are delicate and precious.

Don’t get mad.  Respond by being better than what they say you are.  Be beautiful individuals but also be stronger together (and no, I didn’t mean to just quote HRC but there you go) and make the world a better more beautiful place.  You do it all the time already.

I have some confessions and some advice for you:

#1 – You drive me (and your parents and your bosses) crazy sometimes.  But so does everyone.  Some of the things that get said about you are true about some of you some of the time…just like some of the things they say about some of the people in my generation are true about some of us some of the time…so listen to some of the things that the people that you trust say about you.

#2 – You’re different than I am and I don’t always understand you and I often forget that first point I made about you not forming yourself.  It’s not your fault that you got a trophy for showing up to the game, but it’s your job now, as an adult, to process through how that might have affected your way of seeing the world.  You are the #snowflakegeneration and I am an X-er right smack dab in the middle of the #neglectedmiddlechild generation.  We come from pretty different starting positions from which to view the world, so we have to choose to listen to each other.

#3 – Sometimes I think you act like you know everything.  And you don’t.  But every young (and old) person on the face of the earth who ever lived, including the one who is typing these words right now, has at one point in their life thought that they knew everything.

Also, I see that you often feel lost and have fears and uncertainties but that it’s harder for you to say that out loud than it was for me because you grew up with a public Facebook face that feels awfully important to maintain.  And I’m sorry that’s true for you.

#4 – I do learn things from you.  Like what Netflix & chill means.  (Also, other more important things.)

#5 – I believe I have things that I can teach you because I’ve lived a little longer than you have…and I love and care about those of you who need and want help to navigate the world.  And I believe that this is true of 98-99% of you.  We all need the wisdom of what has gone before us and the vision of what’s coming behind…and that’s hard for people to accept sometimes because we live in a world where we all want to be right and where change is difficult.

You’re not perfect and neither is any other generation that’s ever gone before you, but we need you and I’m cheering you on.  Be careful of getting too offended and blaming things on other people…even when you feel like people are doing that to you.  Keep getting smart(er) about the world.  Don’t exclusively read your news on Facebook or get your stories from YouTube.  Don’t let them bait you on Twitter.

Travel…across the world or across your city or across the “wrong side of the tracks”.  Learn from others.  Talk to people you disagree with and get their perspective…and then figure out how to stay in relationship with them.

Listen to Van Jones when he says that same thing that I just said and when he tells you that the work is not done and it is not okay to give up.  Remember that most people who change the world for good don’t get to see the final fruits of their labor.  Social media has retrained your brains (and mine) to expect immediate results, feedback and gratification but good things in life almost always involve the long haul.

Start making decisions now about how you will spend the millions of dollars you will make over the course of your life.  If you care about the environment, be conscious about what you consume and what you throw away.  If you care about ethical business practices, do your research and buy from and invest your retirement plans in those companies whose values align with your own.  If you care about people, simply be kind – with your words on social media, with your actions in real life.  Choose not to honk and keep the bird to yourself when they cut you off on the 405.

You are the future and you have more power to positively affect the world around you than you think you do.

Get outside your comfort zone because this is how you will grow.

You make the world a more beautiful place, you’re pretty fun, you are important and when you come together, you are strong.

With all my love,

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#snowflake #snowflakegeneration #snowflakepride

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Photo creds: “Beauty is in the small things – 35:365” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by susivinh, “Snowflake” (CC BY 2.0) by mel5545, “Snowball” (CC BY 2.0) by kamshots, “Snowstorm!” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by Chris Kantos

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2 thoughts on “Dear #SnowflakeGeneration

  1. I love the idea of snowflakes interrupting business as usual. I sat with a young barista the other day who wondered if his voice at a protest mattered. The answer is yes, my young friend!

    Like

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