I, for one, am delighted that the Millennials have replaced the Baby Boomers as the largest generational cohort. I realize that’s because we’re not just graying and fraying, we’re starting to die off. (Even if we weren’t dying off, even at our peak, there were never as many millions of us a there are Millennials.) Anyway, in terms of every other age cohort heaping on, despising us, making fun of us, etc., I’m guessing that there’s safety in declining numbers. Any day now, we’ll be cute. Lovable, even. People will forget to curse us for environmental depredation, the decline of the defined benefit pension plan, and Donald Trump. They’ll even start thanking us for liking the Beatles, turning Levis into an everyday garb, and organic oranges. And, of course, they’ll start dumping on the Millennials with greater vigor and relish than they now display when that generation’s name is mentioned.
Thus, I quite enjoyed a recent WSJ article on the “remedial education” that the Millennials require in order to attend to what used to be pretty ho-hum, everyday tasks.
Scotts Miracle-Gro offers gardening lessons that include tips “like making sure sunlight can reach plants.” (That or accept the fact that their garden will only be able to grow impatiens.) Scotts and other companies have had to act because:
This generation, with its over-scheduled childhoods, tech-dependent lifestyles and delayed adulthood, is radically different from previous ones. They’re so different, in fact, that companies are developing new products, overhauling marketing and launching educational programs—all with the goal of luring the archetypal 26-year-old…
Companies such as Scotts, Home Depot Inc., Procter & Gamble Co., Williams-Sonoma Inc.’s West Elm and the Sherwin-Williams Co. are hosting classes and online tutorials to teach such basic skills as how to mow the lawn, use a tape measure, mop a floor, hammer a nail and pick a paint color. (Source: Wall Street Journal, which requires a subscription – that or having your sister ask your brother-in-law to cut and paste the article and scoot it over to you.)
I’ll be the first to admit that when I was in my twenties, I could have used some advice from Sherwin-Williams when I went to pick the paint for my apartment’s bathroom. What I thought was going to be a soft coral turned out to be the same nasty pinky-orange that cheap plastic baby dolls used to come in. Painting over with a nice neutral beige worked just fine. But where would I have learned to pick a paint color? Not the place where I learned to “mow the lawn, use a tape measure, mop a floor, [and] hammer a nail”. My parents did wallpaper, so what I learned is how to look through a wallpaper book, okay? Other than that, like most Boomers (especially the older sibs of the female variety), I was more of less live-in help.
I learned how to to clean (dust and dust mop; vacuum; toilets, sinks, tubs, mirrors; scrub a floor; swab out a fridge; etc.). I learned how to do laundry (sort first), and, of course, how to iron. How to sew on buttons, hem a skirt, and make minor repairs. How to hang a picture and wire a lamp. What a tape measure is used for – and how to use one. How to polish shoes.
Unlike my sisters, I’m not much of a cook. I gravitated towards baking, which I’m pretty good at. But I know the cooking basics, and am plenty handy with a paring knife. I even know how to do things that no one needs to know in this day and age, like crack walnuts without damaging the pieces.
Unlike the folks that Scotts is coaching, I know how to weed and how to water plants.
I will admit that, when it comes to cleaning, I’m with the Millennials, who, according to P&G:
…clean their homes differently from older generations. “We find that the younger generation is a bit more crunched for time and less likely to do a big, deep clean,” says Kevin Wenzel, an associate brand director for P&G’s North America surface care business.
Instead, millennials are more likely to clean as needed, which P&G calls “maintenance” cleaning. Swiffer advertisements this year highlight how its mops and dusters help “in the moment.”
In truth, some of the Millennials I know have pretty decent practical skillsets. They wouldn’t have picked that sad-ass bad baby doll color for the bathroom wall.
Still, interesting to read that, while “the kids” were growing up, a lot of them never learned how to mop a floor. (Ah, when I was a girl…)
And a big Pink Slip thanks to my sister – and fellow child indentured servant – Kath for this one.