Millennials: Are Their Priorities Straight?
Millennials’ priorities in life are encouraging when compared to previous generations. But what is missing, and what are your priorities in life?
In February of 2010, the Pew Research Center did a poll of the Millennial generation (people between the ages of 18 and 29 at that time) on what they considered the highest priorities in their lives. Though the results are not shocking, there are interesting trends we can see from this poll.
When asked to rate the importance of different life goals, Millennials showed their priorities to be the following:
- Being a good parent (52 percent).
- Having a successful marriage (30 percent).
- Helping others in need (21 percent).
- Owning a home (20 percent).
- Living a very religious life (15 percent).
- Having a high-paying career (15 percent).
- Having lots of free time (9 percent).
- Becoming famous (1 percent).
(Source: “Millennials: Confident. Connected. Open to Change,” Pew Social & Demographic Trends Project.)
Millennials: big on relationships, low on religion
The top three priorities highlight a trait of the Millennials that many commentators and researchers have noticed: They place a high priority on relationships and family.
While the Baby Boom generation was known for conflict with parental authorities (termed “the generation gap” of the 1960s and ’70s), the Millennials “get along well with their parents” (ibid.). Because of the Great Recession and the lack of jobs for people in their 20s, many Millennials are forced to live at home with their parents longer than previous generations. Millennials are also socially engaged and believe in improving society by social activism and service.
But, though the above priorities are positive, it’s interesting to note the low role religion plays in the lives of the Millennial generation. Only 15 percent (not even a sixth!) of Millennials polled ranked living religiously as a high priority in their lives.
And we should be cautious about assuming that even the 15 percent who rank religion as important are typical religious people who subscribe to an established faith and attend church regularly. Another Pew report pointed out, “Compared with their elders today, young people are much less likely to affiliate with any religious tradition or to identify themselves as part of a Christian denomination” (“Religion Among the Millennials”).
The religious views of Millennials are all over the place—with many inventing their own ideas of spirituality and others even considering atheism or agnosticism as their religion.
Positive top priorities
The purpose of this blog is not to criticize the Millennials for their choice of priorities. The people behind this website—Life, Hope & Truth—strongly believe and teach that the top three priorities of this generation (according to the poll) are not just good—but are essential! The “Life” part of our name includes our message about all three of those priorities.
The way of life we teach to the world includes proclaiming that:
- Good parenting is essential to the proper growth and development of children. We believe and teach that stable, two-parent families composed of fathers and mothers raising their children according to proven biblical principles are the building blocks to strong families and emotionally healthy children.
- Good marriages (which produce good families) are the building block of all societies. We strive to teach the principles that lead to successful marriages that last.
- Helping and serving is part of living a life that is characterized by the word give—instead of being characterized by the word get.
What is missing in the priorities of Millennials?
The above three priorities are maximized when an individual has the correct spiritual guidance as his or her driving motivation. True Christianity (not the watered-down form that many young people find hypocritical and lacking in substance) provides the correct goal and guidelines that lead to a happy, balanced and abundant life.
Jesus Christ specifically said that He came to bring a vibrant way of life: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (verse_5}).
True Christianity is not a boring, monotonous system of religious rituals, a religion focused on promoting a liberal or conservative political agenda, or a shallow “feel good” message proclaimed by slick preachers on television. When so much of modern religion falls into those categories, it is understandable why so many Millennials have stopped identifying “religion” as being important in their lives.
Before you throw the “baby”—religion—“out with the bathwater,” take it upon yourself to examine the true message and way of life outlined in the Bible. You will find a way of life that provides you with the greatest meaning a person could have and a whole guidebook of laws and principles that will lead you to a happy, fulfilling life.
You will learn that the top three priorities of Millennials are, in fact, an essential part of God’s way of life and are maximized by truly understanding and applying the guidance and instruction of the Bible. God reveals Himself as a family (Ephesians 3:15) and tells us to place high priority on family—both marriage (Matthew 19:5-6) and parenting (Psalm 127:4-5). God’s way is also built around the principle of giving and serving others (Acts 20:35).
So, in fact, Millennials are on to something with their priorities. We urge our readers to reexamine where God and His way of life fall on their personal list of priorities! See “The Purpose of Life”—understanding it can help put all of our priorities in perspective.