You hear a lot of millennial this and millennial that these days. In fact, the younger generation is blamed for lot, and they’re also told that they’re greedy, rude, lazy – you name it!
But is our younger generation really any different now than from generations past? Not really, when you consider these quotes from thousands of years ago.
“Probably there is no period in history in which young people have given such emphatic utterance to a tendency to reject that which is old and to wish for that which is new.”
Young People Drinking More, Portsmouth Evening News, 1936
Thoughtless, Rude and Selfish
“We defy anyone who goes about with his eyes open to deny that there is, as never before, an attitude on the part of young folk which is best described as grossly thoughtless, rude, and utterly selfish.”
The Conduct of Young People, Hull Daily Mail, 1925
“The beardless youth… does not foresee what is useful, squandering his money.”
Horace, 1st Century BC
“Whither are the manly vigour and athletic appearance of our forefathers flown? Can these be their legitimate heirs? Surely, no; a race of effeminate, self-admiring, emaciated fribbles can never have descended in a direct line from the heroes of Potiers and Agincourt…”
Letter in Town and Country magazine republished in Paris Fashion: A Cultural History, 1771
High-Minded, Not Humble
“[Young people] are high-minded because they have not yet been humbled by life, nor have they experienced the force of circumstances.”
Rhetoric, Aristotle, 4th Century BC
They Know Everything
“They think they know everything, and are always quite sure about it.”
Rhetoric, Aristotle, 4th Century BC
Lack of Self-Control and Discipline
“Parents themselves were often the cause of many difficulties. They frequently failed in their obvious duty to teach self-control and discipline to their own children.”
Problems of Young People, Leeds Mercury, 1938
Distracted by Cinemas
“Cinemas and motor cars were blamed for a flagging interest among young people in present-day politics by ex-Provost JK Rutherford… [He] said he had been told by people in different political parties that it was almost impossible to get an audience for political meetings.
There were, of course, many distractions such as the cinema…”
Young People and Politics, Kirkintilloch Herald, 1938
“How to bring young people into membership of the Church was a pressing problem raised at a meeting… Sunday School teachers in the audience had found that children were apt to leave Sunday School when they had completed their day school education.
They were not following on into the church.”
Why Do Young People Neglect Religion?, Shield Daily News, 1947
Tough Guy Appeal
“…in youth clubs were young people who would not take part in boxing, wrestling or similar exercises which did not appeal to them. The ‘tough guy’ of the films made some appeal but when it came to something that led to physical strain or risk they would not take it.”
Young People Who Spend Too Much, Dundee Evening Telegraph, 1945
Inability to Express Thoughts
“The Chairman alluding to the problem of young people and their English said his experience was that many did not seem able to express or convey to other people what they meant.
They could not put their meaning into words, and found the same difficulty when it came to writing.”
Unable to Express Thoughts: Failing of Modern Young People, Gloucester Citizen, 1936
“A few [35-year-old friends] just now are leaving their parents’ nest. Many friends are getting married or having a baby for the first time. They aren’t switching occupations, because they have finally landed a ‘meaningful’ career – perhaps after a decade of hopscotching jobs in search of an identity.
They’re doing the kinds of things our society used to expect from 25-year-olds.”
Not Ready for Middle Age at 35, Wall Street Journal, 1984
“Many [young people] were so pampered nowadays that they had forgotten that there was such a thing as walking, and they made automatically for the buses… unless they did something, the future for walking was very poor indeed.”
Scottish Rights of Way: More Young People Should Use Them, Falkirk Herald, 1951