Narcissistic and/or Civic Minded

27 Nov

During the Thanksgiving holiday our Millennial Generation daughter mentioned that she and some of her friends at Stanford wanted to make a difference and show that their generation cares and is not the most narcissistic generation ever.

She said it was depressing to be labeled with the “narcissist” tag. And it is true, the Millennial are considered by some to be the most narcissistic generation ever.

There are other generations besides the Baby Boomers and the Millennials, the two we hear about the most these days.

1900-1924: G. I. Generation
1925-1945: Silent Generation (I guess this is mine but am I really that silent)
1945-1964: Baby Boomers
1965 – 1979: Generation X
1980 – 2000 – Millennials  (also known as Generation Y)
2001 – Present: New Silent Generation or Generation Z

Generation X grew up different than previous generations before them. They grew up in an era where divorce and working moms were commonplace and thus created a group of individuals who became very independent and resourceful who learned to adapt to a wide range of circumstances very early in their lives.

The ran a piece on the topic and reported, “Millennials Rising, published in 2000 when the oldest Millennials were just 18 pointed to increased rates of volunteering among high school students and decreased rates of teen pregnancy and crime.”

Then in 2006, Generation Me, presented data showing generational increases in self-esteem, assertiveness, self-importance, narcissism, and high expectations.

Maybe both descriptions are true. Millennial are mostly narcissists with high self-esteem that want to make a difference by volunteering and getting involved. Maybe it is that belief in self, that narcissism, that makes them what USA Today reported, “People born between 1982 and 2000 are the most civic-minded since the generation of the 1930s and 1940s.”

Then on Sunday, November 25, my wife and I watched 60 Minutes. Have you heard of “Free the Children”?

Instead of reinventing the wheel, Millennials like our daughter might want to become involved with this nonprofit that was started by a 12 year old in 1994.  Most of the donors and members of this group are Millennials or belong to Generation Z.

Craig Kielburger’s mission began 18 years ago when, as a child at age 12, he founded “Free the Children”—an organization now in 45 countries that empowers children to help other children.

Is it that bad to be labeled a narcissist if you are doing some good and working to change the world for the better?

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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3 responses to “Narcissistic and/or Civic Minded

  1. Grif Jones

    November 30, 2012 at 12:18

    A better description might be narcissistic or civic minded. There exists a very healthy Generation Y subculture that is historically civic minded and conscious of sustainable living. Jersey Shore, 16 and Pregnant, and record hours on Facebook probably capture a better snap shot of the dominant culture. It’s ok. That’s partly why the civic sub culture exists. They’re undaunted. I wouldn’t be encouraged by Gen Y as a whole but that silver lining is certainly inspirational.

    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      November 30, 2012 at 14:32

      Yes, the “or” does fit better.

      Beyond the average member of Generation Y, or any generation, there are always subcultures that do not fit the definitions manufactured by the media and/or academia to define every generation based on some average compiled by endless studies and surveys.

      For example, the average child in America today watches so many hours of TV a day, listens to so much music, spends so much time on Facebook, etc, but then outside that average, we have children that watch no TV or watch 10 hours a day, belong to street gangs and so on.

      The average may only be 30 or 40% of any given generation and no other subculture comes close to that so subcultures become topics of PhD dissertations.

  2. gold account

    December 26, 2012 at 03:09

    What causes the culture to enter a crisis whenever an individualistic, idealistic generation comes into societal power? Several factors. First, they distrust institutions and work to tear them down. In other words, government, churches, schools and other institutions are considered untrustworthy and incompetent, so they are weakened.


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