Generation iY Students Who Don’t Fit the Mold

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Dr. Tim Elmore shares how students who go the extra mile can overcome jealousy when they see others praised for minimal effort.

I received an inquiry a few weeks ago from Karen, a student who read my blog. She made an interesting request:

“I was wondering if it would be of interest to look into the effects of typical Gen iY and their over-indulgent parents on other Gen iY persons and parents who may not fit this mold.”

“For example, I find myself quite bitter about others my age. I feel that I work hard, I play by the rules, yet I am never praised or given freedom/trust from my parents. As a result, I find that I am extremely jealous and somewhat depressed. I always see others doing supposedly “worse” than me and reaping many rewards, and can’t help but feel entitled to at least some reward.”

“Perhaps I am not the only one who shares this view and maybe others do too. This may be an interesting side of Gen iY you may be interested in looking into.”

Karen—you bring up a great point. Count me in.

As I speak at student events, I meet “exceptions to the rule” almost everywhere. They are young adults who break the mold and don’t fit into the typical stereotype, as an entitled slacker with low emotional intelligence. (Pardon my bluntness, but so many articles I read these days are totally down on teens and twenty-somethings.)

Karen is an example of an uncommon student who sees the apparent pay-off for so many kids who get praised for the smallest of effort, somehow pass a grade in school even if they read at a fourth grade level, and who have an adult swoop in and save them whenever they fail. Indeed, it is enough to make a student with a good work ethic jealous.

Karen—allow me to speak very personally to you in this situation:

  1. When you feel jealous, think long term. In the long run, students like you who do work hard and play by the rules will be in such better shape than entitled kids who have no work ethic. You’ll be ready for adulthood. In the end, we reap what we sow.
  2. Count your blessings. I know this sounds old fashioned, but when you hate your life, reflect on all the good you’ve received or even earned. Things could always be worse and your happiness will expand as you focus on the good, not the bad.
  3. Find someone—a friend, a mentor, a boss, a teacher or a leader—whom you can meet with and receive positive feedback. We all need encouragement, and if you get little of that at home, you must find it elsewhere. Keep your emotional tank full.

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