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How Grandparents are Winning Over Millennials

Posted by Jessica Hegg on

Millennials are sweeping the nation, but certainly not in the same fashion as their generation x and baby boomer grandparents.  The tech savvy, entrepreneurial, naive, liberal, diverse, non-religious, adventurous, impatient millennials of today have officially stepped into the adult world.  However, their skill sets couldn't be more different from those possessed by the generation x and baby boomer generations.

Comparing millennials and their grandparents is like explaining the difference between a rotary telephone, a landline, and a smartphone. Millennials can be creative and innovative in different ways while older generations do things traditionally This newest generation approaches pretty much everything from a technological point of view, focusing heavily on convenience. 

While this is great for the advancement of technological, medical, and any type of scientific research, there is a big chunk of life skills that have gone missing.  I am talking about the ones that help us become well-rounded and self-sufficient...the skills baby boomer and gen x grandparents have that millennials don't

What millennials are missing:

Human socialization:

At dinners, parties, reunions or any other social event, grandparents were social in the traditional sense of the word. They talked and mingled with each other without distractions. They wouldn’t rudely check their phones every 2 minutes to get the latest updates from social media, read new texts or check their email. Social interaction has become an entirely different animal. It’s been redefined to comply with the norms of present day. Grandparents are genuinely interested in your life, talking about normal everyday things.

Legible hand writing:

How did grandparents send birthday greetings? They actually wrote their best wishes in a card instead of sending an e-card. Not only that, everything they did was written out, which resulted in exercising their writing skills. Therefore, the handwriting is not only legible, but even looks professional compared to millennials. No texting or typing on a keyboard to communicate. Grandparents wrote beautiful letters on paper; still do, in fact.  Cursive handwriting isn't even taught in schools anymore.

Home maintenance skills:

Grandparents love to have their own gardens to grow fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. They also have the skill sets that allow you to fix the sink, repair leaks, swap out a ceiling fan, or even tend to shingles on a roof!  There really has been a shift from handling things ourselves, to calling the local repair man.  And something tells me that millennials will not be planting fruits and vegetables in their yards when they have the convenience of buying them at the store.

Ability to memorize phone numbers:

How many phone numbers do you think millennials can verbalize from memory? Possibly two, maybe even four. Grandparents have memorized the entire family, the best friends’, and even the local movie theater’s phone numbers. There was no option to google the phone number and retrieve information on public places, or even to search through personal contacts (unless they were written down)!

Car maintenance 101:

Most millennials can’t even change a tire, replace batteries, spark plugs or even jump-start a car. With today's GO, GO, GO mentality one is much more likely to contact local services for assistance.  Car trouble? No worries, call someone else to help!  Before, if you were driving, skills like these were imperative in case you came along any "bumps" in the road because you had to handle them yourself. With the advancement of technology and the convenience of cell phones millennials take to the road, but never forget their AAA card!

Money Management:

Grandparents know the importance of the dollar, and they know how to save for retirement or a rainy day. Millennials have no clue how to manage money. They max out their credit cards, default on loans, and live paycheck to paycheck without saving a dime. So, you can say, in this sense, grandparents are much smarter than this generation. Would millennials even know how to write a check properly? Considering the use of online bill pay and debit/credit cards for purchases, probably not. Actually, do they know what a checkbook is? Grandparents not only write checks properly, they can balance their checkbook. If this latest generation needs cash, they’ll withdraw it from an ATM.

Kitchen Wizards:

Millennials can certainly learn a lesson or two, even 10, from grandparents. They could cook just about anything and make it taste delicious. Grandfathers normally would get the fresh game and butcher it, while the grandmother would make a complete dinner including fresh vegetables and salad just pulled from the garden. Grandparents didn’t use recipes. No cookbooks or online recipes. I remember when I asked my grandmother how to cook something, she told me the ingredients but no measurements.They didn’t use measurements. They “judged” as my grandmother liked to say. Needless to say, I didn’t attempt to make the dish, because I didn’t know how to “judge”. Grandparents cooked everything homemade. There were no such products as frozen meals or boxed pasta. They would spend the day mixing their dough, kneading it and rolling it for pastas, pastries, etc.

Sewing skills:

Would this generation know how to use a sewing machine to alter clothing like hems? The grandparent generation even used sewing machines with the manual pedals going up and down. Good exercise for calf muscles too! Now, it’s probably a miracle if a millennial could thread a needle without poking their fingers a million times and bleeding to death. What about crocheting or knitting? Grandparents made blankets, hats, scarves, socks, sweaters, and even wedding dresses! Millennials may not even know the difference between knitting needles and crocheting needles.

Preference for paper maps:

GPS. Please?? Not only do most grandparents use paper maps, they really know how to read them and they can probably tell you where North, South, East, and West are at any given moment. But, again, for the latest generation, it’s much more convenient to verbally ask their navigational system to give step-by-step directions. There is something nostalgic about paper roadmaps with all the wrinkles, torn edges, and pen scribbling. Paper maps hold can hold a lot of sentimental value that is linked to the memories made through experiences, it's hard for a talking GPS to do that...

Phone booths, pay phones, and collect calls?:

Most millennials don’t even know what a telephone booth is, let alone making collect calls. That’s all grandparents used. Whether it was from a phone booth or from their landline, they actually spoke to a real operator. Speaking of landlines, throwing it back to the rotary phone, millennials may have no clue what you're talking about!

Ironing Clothes:

Although many grandmothers ironed basically everything such as, underwear, pillowcases, handkerchiefs, jeans, pants, socks, shirts, etc., it’s highly doubtful any 20-somethings did this. With polyester clothing and de-wrinkle sprayers, why would they even try?

Food Preservation:

Commonly known as canning, grandparents would have a basement full of homemade canned goods typically stored in glass jars. Today, it’s rare to find people who preserve their own foods, but, it used to be very common. Specific equipment was involved and knowledge of the proper preparation methods. This was their safety net to get through harsh winters. Ordering pizza with the click of a button was just not an option.

Research and Encyclopedias

Let’s face it. Wikipedia wasn’t even a remote concept in our grandparents’ generation. Neither was the internet or the capabilities it has today. Any knowledge they required was taken from books or encyclopedias. This was one of the only methods to retrieve and learn information. When writing term papers in school or putting together a senior project this was all that baby boomers had. A millennial today most likely knows of an encyclopedia, but would they know how to use it?  Imagine the anxiety of having to locate read through books in the library to retain all your reference material...today we type it into the Google search bar.

In conclusion...

Today’s generation may think they are very intelligent and capable. But, with advances in technology, things become easier everyday. Grandparents didn’t have the luxury of smartphones or the Internet. However, grandparents know the value of a dollar and the functions of day-to-day living that this generation will likely never know. Out of necessity, these skills were learned for specific reasons. They didn’t know what the word “lazy” meant. They were incredibly hard-working and more productive than any generation following.

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