We Like to Label
We like to label. It is an easy way to put people into various cubby holes. But, are label’s accurate? Are they descriptive? Or are they our lazy way of not having to deal with who the people or person really is? See, the problem with labels is we then begin to think of people as a label instead of as a person. We also lump people into groups, conveniently. Those labels may be accurate, or they may be derogatory.
For example, we accurately describe the generation coming home from World War II as “The Greatest Generation.” Now, that is descriptive and accurate because they are. We see the fruit of the kind of people they are. “The Greatest Generation” not only applies to those who survived the war but those who fought the spiritual battles of institutionalism and denominationalism for the sake of truth. In both instances we owe “The Greatest Generation” so much thanks and respect. Describing that generation that way is thoughtful and accurate.
Then we use the label “baby boomers.” “Baby boomers are the children of those who are “The Greatest Generation.” Coming home from the war, men and women married, or were reunited with their mates, and the baby boom began. The “baby boomers” were the recipient of the hard work and character of “The Greatest Generation.” The parents of “The Greatest Generation” wanted to give their babies what they did not have. I am part of that baby boom. In many cases we were taught the old school way of values, character, and respect. We were taught there is a right and wrong. We were taught to say “yes ma'am” and “yes sir.” But along the way we were also cursed with unimagined materialism due to the new wealth that was created by “The Greatest Generation.” The label “baby boomer” lost its place of respect and became known as spoiled brats. The problem is that not everyone who is a baby boomer is a spoiled brat. But it is easier to label than deal with the individual person.
Today, moving past several labels we have “The Millennials.” For myself, I am not sure how to describe “The Millennials.” I have asked several of them how to describe themselves. The ones I ask do not fit the negative description that seems to be tagged to the label. In fact, when I hear them described they sound a whole lot like the spoiled “baby boomers.” Once again, the problem with whoever and whatever a millennial is, is that we lump them all together and fail to see the person. Do they want a six-figure salary right out of college? A BMW paid for by someone else? The latest iPhone or iGadget on the job? The least amount of work hours and most time off for more pay? Are they altruistic? Hmmm…, sounds a lot like the people I graduated with from college in 1976.
Here is what I am trying to get us to think about: we need to stop labeling people and deal with the person. Whatever the traits of that individual, they are peculiar to that person. When we fail to see the person for who he or she really is, we miss really helping them and seeing great potential. If we are going to teach the Bible, we teach a person, not a label. The Bible is sufficient enough for “The Greatest Generation,” the “baby boomers’ and “The Millennials.” It has the answer each one needs. It also shows how one can live the best life now and have hope for eternity. In a local church we have fellowship with people, not a label. We try to provide edification for the person. It is an individual who needs encouragement. A person hurts and we help that person carry the burden.
I work with two supposed “Millennials.” I have to say If all “Millennials “are like Jordan and Ryan, then they are pretty good. But just like the “baby boomers”, and just like some of “The Greatest Generation,” there are individuals who are selfish and rude. But not all “Millennials” are like that. They are great people.