In our society, youth is something that is held onto for dear life, as societal elite like the Kardashians fill their faces in hopes of ridding themselves of any signs of aging. However, I have recently recognized there is a plight of youth: with youth comes the challenge of gaining respect from those who view us—“youths”—as no more than technology-obsessed heathens with bad attitudes.
A few weeks ago, I went to Taco Mamacita’s, a cool Tex-Mex restaurant on the North Shore, in search of tasty nachos with some of my friends. When we were finally seated, they put us in the direct sunlight, while other spots were clearly open. Why would you think that putting people in an extremely sunny spot on a hot day to eat hot food would be a good idea? Also, why was anybody over the age of 25 being seated inside? I’m not trying to be petty, but I felt disrespected.
I had another experience like this at a Mexican street food restaurant down in Florida. My sister and I had gone there several times with my aunt and had always gotten great service. However, the one time my sister and I went there by ourselves, we actually had to ask another server to bring us chips and silverware when our waiter treated us like an inconvenience.
I know what you’re thinking: “Girl, just stay away from tacos!” But, I actually don’t think my bad luck with hip Mexican restaurants is the issue here. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I am young, and people are less likely to respect us millennials due to our typically empty bank accounts and notoriously bad attitudes. Having worked in the food industry, I fully understand the dread that comes with seating a table of teenagers, but still, even angsty teens deserve respect.
This issue of being looked down upon because of age goes beyond the food industry, unfortunately. A few weeks ago, when Dr. Rosalie de Rosset came to talk to us about technology and how it’s running our lives, I felt disrespected as an adult. I know I am not alone in this because I have talked to many of my peers who have expressed similar concerns. There she was, standing on her soap box, talking down to us like she had this revolutionary idea about technology being an idol that us non-thinking millennials had failed to recognize.
I think that the idea of unplugging and going outside is a wonderful idea. However, this tirade about how we should completely shut off communication with the outside world is ridiculous. We are very aware of the presence of technology and of the benefits and deficits that come with it. Sure, we should attempt to make more conversation with one another, but this is Covenant College, where it is often difficult to find a table in the Great Hall because so many are half-filled tables with people attempting intentional conversations with one another. We do that already.
I do think that this is a good topic—technology as an idol—but I think that there is a more respectful, less degrading way to go about it. Since then, I have seen this conversation be redeemed. In Dr. Halvorson’s Christ and Culture lecture, he encouraged conversation, addressing the issue as one for all ages, not just for us bumbling millennials.
Being in the classroom at Covenant, I typically feel that I have a voice and that I am an adult. It is the type environment that a young adult student desires. It is unnecessary for us to be told that we can’t handle the responsibilities of owning technology. We don’t want to be forced into moral dilemmas because we want to go to our friends engagement party and skip a “mandatory” meeting.
So where does this leave us, as youths undermined by those we are told we should respect? I suggest that we voice our concerns to those older than us. They may not listen or respect our wishes, but at least we gave it a shot. Instead of acting out, proving them right, that we are just a bunch of punks, let’s rebel by acting the very way they expect us not to—with maturity.