Who would you say makes for a better person: the silent generation (born before 1945), the baby boomers (born 1946-1954), the gen-Xers (born 1965-1976), the millennials (born 1977-1995), or the centennials (born after 1995)? What generation would be the greatest?
Recently I watched a short video that was making its rounds on social media. In it, a gentleman who looked to be about my age or slightly younger talked about the reasons why this current generation is so messed up. He did say that it wasn’t their fault. He said “they had been dealt a bad hand.” Some of the bad deals in that hand were an overexposure to technology (comparing it to alcoholism), their having been told they are special and rewarded for things they didn’t earn, and a sense of entitlement.
I don’t completely disagree with everything he said. He certainly sounded like he knew he was talking about. In fact, I’m not writing to challenge his claims. However, when commentaries like this are shared I always remind myself of the following:
Problems are omnipresent. Yes, we do have a host of deathly allergies today that they didn’t seem to have even 30 years ago… but we don’t have chickenpox. Children spend too much time on social media… but you spend too much time in front of the TV. Or maybe too much time by yourself when you needed more time with adults. Soon this generation will look at a new generation and shake their heads. The cycle will continue.
We grow into the newness. At this point in time, social media activity is still pretty new. It’s dangers have shown themselves and we’re concerned. The current narrative is that my children’s generation can’t handle real personal relationships. Well, maybe they are doomed, but remember the 90’s? I was a grown adult who was worried, along with all other grown adults, that the kids spent too much time playing video games. For adults in the 70’s and 80’s it was TV that was kids’ big problem. Go back farther it was rebellious rock n’ roll and blue jeans. In the 1850’s it was young ladies who “rode astride on horses.” A generation earlier than that it was the waltz. These things have all become part of our lives and their dangers don’t scare us as much. Even dogs are dangerous, but we’ve tamed them and learned to live with them.
We’ll make it there. We always do. My kids don’t like getting together with other people and socializing as much as I did at their age. Yes, this saddens me. But they are also more tolerant and culturally aware than I ever was. I also admire how they treat theirfriends who suffer with anxiety, learning disabilities, autism, etc. Perhaps we should post videos saying “this is EXACTLY problem with gen-Xers” or baby boomers. The material is certainly there.
I remember being a grown adult shaking my head at the kids of the 90’s and their video games. I still know a lot of those kids today and many have children of their own. Somehow they overcame. My peers have stunted growth, I’m sure, from TV’s influence, but for the most part they survived. I have no doubt that my children’s generation will emerge as better people than we were. I even have faith they’ll be able to match the greatness of the Silent Generation. Somehow I think we will dig deep down and overcome Facebook and Twitter.
Who exactly is entitled here? The first time I heard that “this generation” has a problem with entitlement I was in my early years of teaching in a college. It soon became a buzzword for us on the faculty. If we had a tough time keeping students happy it must’ve been because of their sense of entitlement. If more students failed a test than passed it and they blamed their teacher for it, well that just had to be because of their entitlement mindset (especially if the teacher was me). If they complained about cafeteria food—entitlement. Anything negative at all, it was always tempting to just shake our heads at “this generation.” But maybe the millennials and centennials are onto something… Ever have an employer that demanded respect but didn’t reciprocate? Yeah, me too. Ever been given a grade that you know you didn’t deserve but you were stuck with it because the teacher said so? Yeah, me too. Maybe this generation if finally not putting up with that crap. It’s not that they think respect or authority is unimportant, they just don’t see these as ends unto themselves. Maybe it’s about time some of us looked at life this way.
In our nominations this week we had one silent generation (Queen E), one baby boomer (Erin B), and two gen-Xers (Cheryl and Julie). It was a close race, but…
Congratulations Wild. This is your week.
Best Actress: Helen Miren as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen.
Best Actor: Albert Finney as Ed Masry in Erin Brockovich.
Best Quote: “You can never have too much butter.” — Amy Adams as Julie Powell in Julie and Julia. And this is true with popcorn at the theater too.
I feel like I’ve already wrote about this, so sorry for the repetition. But this has been on my mind and just had to get it out. Remember that there has been no age in history where one cannot find a quote of someone talking about how bad things have become with the youth of their time (And the preceding link is just the beginning. Believe me, I have more.). Let’s just believe in kids and be optimistic about the future.