What would happen if we actually listened to Millennials?

We’ve all heard the Millennial-bashing that has become popular in social media recently. I’m sure it will be quickly followed by some scientific evidence derived from a sociological study that was ill-fated before the first subject is studied. The outcome will state that today’s parents(x-geners) have procreated the worst generation (millennials) in American history but there isn’t only one side to this story…what I’ve noticed is that — no one is asking Millennials what motivates them, what they want out of life, and what ‘they think’ is the best way to accomplish their goals. I found that if you listen first and stop trying to prove how great life was before their arrival, you’ll find that they want the same outcomes we do….understanding, a peaceful world, and love.

Well in practicing what I preach, I asked Ugochi Egonu (a Millennial) to create a poem which I could share for the holidays (no guidelines were given) and I’m certain no one engaged in Millennial-bashing would have expected such maturity, clarity, and brilliant communication skills to come from ‘the worst generation ever procreated’. I say to my generation….LISTEN. We will find we have allies in our Millennials — and they will take care of the earth, their fellow human, and eventually us (the x-geners) better than we expect.

I asked a Millennial…and LISTENED.

“I think it’s important to welcome each other, to celebrate, and spread love!”
-Ugochi Egonu, the First Prancing Ponies’ Leadership-Abroad Scholar

With this hand I welcome you,

Out stretched fingers reaching toward yours.

As the skin on my palms waits to feel the warmth of your hand in mine,

My ears patiently wait to hear your story.

Tell me of where you came from.

Let me taste your mother’s cooking on my tongue,

The saccharine treats that you were fed as a child,

Or the spices that live as secret ingredients in a family recipe.

I want to hear the first instrument you played,

The screech of young lips blowing music into a clarinet,

Or clumsy hands hesitantly striking the keys of a piano.

Quote your sacred texts,

Let me memorize the words that you live by,

What is holy to you.

Tell me about the pain of your people,

Let the tears of your ancestors

Fill my eyes.

Tell me your story, and I will tell you mine.

We will use these hands to connect.

With our right hands, we will write each other’s stories,

The stories of our families,

Our people,

Our history.

And with our left hands, we will part,

I will release from your grasp but not let go of your story.

Now we will take this hand,

And place it in front of us,

Inviting others to this ever expanding storybook.