What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Friday: Green living.

26 July 2011

Generations

I didn't do a Teaser Tuesday for a couple of weeks and it feels like it's been eons. It's not that I don't want to share; it's that my reading over the past couple of weeks has been heavy, and while it's very interesting, I don't think it will do well when reduced to snippet form.

Source.
Here, then, is my take on Generations: The History of America's Future, 1584 to 2069. My take so far, that is; I haven't gotten that far into it. Interesting, as I said, but slow going. Anyway! So far I've learned that I can stop feeling guilty for not really liking Baby Boomers and Millennials as a whole, because it's totally normal for each generation to not get along with its neighbours. And I've learned that in the case of the Baby Boomers, they started it anyway by writing off Gen Xers back before this late Gen Xer was even born. Sheesh. Actually, the writers make an interesting point: Kid-centred movies in the late 60s to early 70s tended to make the kid the bad guy, or at least someone to be feared (like The Exorcist or Carrie). No wonder Baby Boomers aren't wild about us.

The authors have four generational groups that have cycled through over and over again since the Puritans first came to America: Two dominant groups (Boomers and Millennials, and what's left of the G.I. generation) alternate with two more passive groups (Silent and Gen X, and whatever today's babies will be called) over and over again. I've been telling Chad for years that Gen Xers have a lot in common with Silents, but didn't have any reason to believe that I was right until now. In the US, we have at least six generations living: Lost, born before 1900 (there may be one or two of them left); G.I., born from 1901-1924; Silent, born from 1925-1942; Boomers, born from 1943-1960; Gen X, born from 1961-1981; Millennials, born from 1982 until... well, somewhere around 2001. I have a theory that eventually that date will be moved back so that only those who can remember 9/11 are included, and kids born in the late 90s and up until now will be the as-yet-unnamed generation (Wikipedia says Gen Z). But that's not in the book, and it's just my personal speculation.

I picked up this book because I find generational traits and differences fascinating. And so far, it's been worth every consultation of the dictionary to read what these gentlemen have to say about the way generations cycle in America. It was written in 1990, so naturally I'd love to see an update to include the past 20 years. They do have another book published in 1997 that I haven't read yet. Maybe that will be next.

What generation are you in (if you're American)? If you aren't American, does your culture have generational divisions like we tend to do? What's a trait of your generation?

5 comments:

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

As a "Boomer" I think one of our traits was/is over indulging our children. The old, give them everything we didn't have ourselves, thingie you know? Sad thing is that we can't give them the one thing we had that really mattered...mothers that stayed at home and freedom to run about and express themselves. Now we are paying the price as our overly indulged children are part of the ME ME generation.

Su said...

Oops... published without attaching a picture! Fixed it!

If it's any consolation, Delores, the writers mention that, too... it's a trait of generations like the Boomers to be overprotective/overindulgent to not the very next generation, so much, but to the generation after. Even the first gang to come over from England were the same! So, yeah, it's a problem, but you aren't alone. Although the both parents working thing is certainly a modern issue.

I remember hearing people on TV or in books saying the "I want to give my kids everything I never had" thing, and even as a kid I thought that was dumb-- I mean, everything you never had? Sheesh. Now that I'm an adult, I think it's a short road to frustration for both parents and kids.

Jenny said...

I'm a barely Gen Xer (1981), only child of a barely Boomer (1960). I'm raising 2 Millennials (Dec 1998 and fall 2000) and 2 Whatevers (05 and 08). And we all live in with my Grandmother, who is a middle Silent. (1929)

And oh, how the generational gaps and differences collide! Or maybe that's just our pigheaded personality traits and genetics? ;)

Especially since DH and I don't agree with the parenting style (read: lack of respect, morals and consideration/common courtesy) of many, many of our peers, OR with the parenting ideals that my mom tries to push on us and the kids. We're our own tune, somewhere in between. It's... definitely interesting! :P

Su said...

You could write your own book!

Gabrielle Evelyn said...

It sounds good and I think I can show it to my father.

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