In Strauss and Howe’s book “The Fourth Turning” the describe the roles of each generation during the various “Turnings“. At the end of the book there are “scripts” for each of the generation (actually the generation archetypes) in the Crisis (aka “Fourth Turning”) that represents the next 10-15 years in American history. Each script describes how the generation in question should act for a positive outcome from the Crisis. The script for the Millennial generation (Hero archetype) is shown below:
For the child Hero, the Fourth Turning looms as a great coming-of-age trial. Whether the Crisis will be won or lost will depend in large measure on the Hero’s teamwork, competence, and courage. By forever sealing his reputation for valor and glory, the Fourth Turning can energize the Hero for a lifetime of grand civic achievements.
Today’s Millennial children should bask in adult hope, remain upbeat themselves, and reject the Unraveling-era cynicism that surrounds them. They should keep their innocence and avoid growing up too quickly. They should do small good deeds while dreaming of the day they will do greater ones. By applying peer pressure to positive purposes, they will be able to reconstruct a positive reputation for American adolescence. When older generations preach traditional values that they themselves failed to learn as children (and which are not yet common to the adult world), Millennials would do well to ignore the hypocrisy—and heed the lessons. The sooner today’s children succeed in displaying these virtues, the more likely older people will be to treat them generously (by paying school taxes and relinquishing elder reward), thereby helping them prepare for their coming trial.
At the onset of the Great Depression, President Herbert Hoover demanded “a fair chance” for American youth: “If we could have but one generation of properly born, trained, educated, and healthy children:” he predicted, “a thousand other problems of government would vanish.” Events—and young G.I.s – proved him right. The Millennials’ time is near. If they play their script well, perhaps the day will come when they sing in unison, as young patriots did in 1776, “The rising world shall sing of us a thousand years to come / And tell our children’s children the wonders we have done.”
Will the Millennial Generation be up to this task? Only time will tell.