The 2015 Next Generation Essay award has been announced, but the People’s Choice award takes the next top 5 finalists and allows the people (like yourself) to vote for the winner online and help them win a $100 gift card.
Please support the dreams & talents of Oregon’s younger generation by reading the 5 essays below and VOTING HERE for your favorite.
Portland, Irony & the Downfall of a Liberal
By Xander from Portland
My pilgrimage in worldview can be described by a desire to relocate into Portland which became the final tipping point.
When I turned 18, I registered, bleeding heart in hand, Green Party. I resided in Santa Barbara, worked under the table, didn’t pay taxes and my living expenses were subsidized through living comfortably off of my parents. In 2003, I registered Democrat so I could support the presidential ambitions of Dennis Kucinich.
When I was 19, I relocated to Portland due to rumor of it being a liberal mecca. Though my consistent need and desire to devour all current events, politics and goings on I realized something. Absolute liberalism seemed to be, indeed, some sort of mental deficiency. Efficient bus-lines were being cut to make way for far more expensive MAX lines. Fees and taxes were being raised, which I suddenly realized hit me very hard while Democrats here seemed so adept at squandering the “revenue”. So in 2008 I finally realized I was actually quite conservative. Odd, I thought, to find myself registering Republican at the age of 23.
In my wayward youth, while not paying taxes, I often debated my grandfather, himself a Republican. I would say without thought of cost or consequence “We should have free college and healthcare!” And he would always reply, “How are we going to pay for it?” My response was always “Taxes!” of which I was paying none and hadn’t ever planned on figuring out how.
My grandfather had many issues with the GOP as I still do. The dissolution of religious social conservatism (as he was part of the party before it took over) and willingness to pander to issues contrary to ideology (such as Iowan ethanol subsidies). And my more liberal of family would ask “How can you possibly be part of a party which is against x, y and z?” The answer was more simple than not: would I rather be part of a party I agreed with 90% or 10%? Not a hard choice as I was never a one issue voter.
Thusly, a mixture of family and personal experience (and initial lack thereof) firmly helped sculpt my worldview. And through the ever enduring great spirit of Portlandian irony, I can thank the fine liberals for this fair city and state for forming one heck of a strong minded conservative.
Political life lessons from my pickup truck
By Levi from Molalla
All the time I hear people say, “Levi your only 17, your worldview comes from what your parents say, you have not had enough life experience to decide what you do and don’t believe.” I may be just 17, but I have much life experience and that has shaped my political worldview.
Much of my political worldview has come from working for everything I own. I hear the masses screaming for free healthcare, unemployment, and housing. The people who receive these things often times do not appreciate them because they did not put in the work to earn what they got. I remember when I bought my first truck, I paid $1,600 and it was a rusted up pile of junk, but I paid for it with the cash I had worked hard to earn. Eventually, after driving that I was able to save enough to buy a much nicer truck. The moral of the story is that people who work for what they own tend to actually appreciate it more. I am a firm believer in working hard for what you own, so we need to (as a society) stop enabling people. Instead we should encourage people to contribute to society.
There are many more parts to my political worldview, this really just scratches the surface, but to me it is probably one of the most important areas. Many problems stem from this one issue. It is easier to fix a leak at the source rather than try and plug a bunch of holes that ultimately do nothing.
Understanding generational differences by a 15 year old
For the first time in history, four generations are working together, side by side: The Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. Each generation has it’s own work styles and sets of values. These differences can lead to misunderstandings. Understanding the generational differences can certainly help to understand the people who come from each age group.
The work styles for each era vary greatly. The Traditional workers prefer hierarchical organization structures, and continue to view societal structure this way. Baby Boomers would rather work in groups or teams. Group work is accentuated with importance among the Baby Boomers bracket. “Work to live, not live to work” is a value most Generation X workers live by. Having a life outside of work is essential to this age group. Finally, the tech-savvy Millennials use technology to get the job done effectively and quickly. All four generations could be working in the same building, with the same job. Each person would be doing the same job a different way, this is because every individual has a different work style due to their generation and upbringing. It’s essential to understand this.
Not only does the work style differ between each era, but also the sets of values. Traditionalists tend to believe in authority and rules. Traditionalists also relish in discipline. World peace and a free government are both crucial values to the Baby Boomers. Generation X, on the other hand, value balance or diversity. They seek life balance as well as self reliance. “Now!” “Fun!” These are two words that could describe the younger generation known as: Millennials. The groups all value very different things. In a family, all four generations could be present. If all the members of the family can understand and recognize that they have different values, it would become easier to respect what they each believe in.
In conclusion, in order to understand different people, it is imperative to understand the differences between each generation. For the first time in history, four generations are working together, side by side: The Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. The work styles and values between the different groups vary greatly. It’s all the differences between the generations, that help keep the world running smoothly.
The Generational Disconnect
By Emilie from Bend
The well-known author, George Orwell, once said, “Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.” Orwell’s words may seem brazen at first, but if we look closely at typical generations, we see that he is correct. Most all “young whippersnappers” think that they know more about the world than their parents. Most “old-timers” just have a feeling in their bones about the way the world works and try to pass on their sage advice. Although many believe it’s just a matter of age, the generational disconnect is largely based on a poor understanding of change and how it effects different generations. How do we best understand these differences?
Understanding generational differences really comes down to understanding change. Change affects people differently. We young people are constantly seeking change. We want to be in college, we want to be done with college, we want to move out of our parents’ house, we want to buy our own house, etc. etc. Young people, no matter what generation they are from, are always seeking change to test the status quo and make the world better!
Generally, those who are older know what they like, and they want things to stay the way they like them. Older people are done with change. It upsets the natural relaxed balance of life and starts to make life unpleasant. For older people, change means adapting to another new way of life.
The biggest key to effectively interacting with people in a different generation form yourself is adapting how you approach them. Everyone wants a better world. As humans we have been striving for a better world as long as history itself. To communicate this goal, remind “old-timers” of the good old days. Show them how you are trying to make the good old days happen all over again. Consequently, demonstration to “young whippersnappers” that you will test the limits to make the world better. While you will be using the same message of making the world better, you are just adapting your message for your audience. As John F. Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
Come and know me better man
by Issac from Woodburn
How does one understand generational differences? In order to answer that question, perhaps it is better that we first address, ‘What makes an individual’? An individual is comprised of varied experiences and values that in turn make up their personality. Another aspect that combines all these things together to make up the individual that cannot be controlled is Time. Time stops for no man, woman, or child and in turn each person is shaped by the movement of time. Man in his attempts to categorize this time refers to it simply as history.
Taking these things into account we can then more fully understand generational differences when we realize that the biggest factor to be overcome is time. The 80 year old loves life just as much as the 8 year old and both love to share in community with others. However, we as humans love to organize and categorize and therefore have developed different ‘generations’ to explain how the effect of time has impacted some individuals but not others. When I look at the categories I struggle to relate because I have placed an categorization “box” in which I can organize a group of individuals. If, however, I take away that box, excluding the impact of time, I can view myself not as a different piece that is separate but as part of a whole, thus bringing the generations to give and take in harmony. Each individual then plays a vital role in an organism that lives and breathes with the interactions that flow from shared relationship.
The older generation has a duty to share what time and experience has taught them to the younger generation; and the younger generation in turn has a duty to help share the adaptations due to time that the older generation struggles to comprehend whether it be technology such as a computer or even to understanding the new systems for paying ones bills. The college student has a duty to the kindergartener just as the 80 year old to the 40 year old. When blended together and overlooking time these relationships have a beautiful dichotomy that pour into each other – each a unique instrument in the symphony of life. The one who is retired doesn’t get a free pass to say, “I’m done, I now choose to invest solely in my life” just as the young person doesn’t get a free pass to say, “They’re too old and they must adapt or be broken to the new advances”. Each generation regardless of age looks to the betterment of those around it and chooses to invest in the generation above and below it. Out of this investment comes relationships, understanding, and peaceful living. By removing the “box” one has created of time to ease categorization it is then that one can understand generational differences