Imagine if there were no differences among generations.
Does one of us really want the next generation to be exactly like this one? Or the one before?
Generations begin as children brought into the world by the children of the previous generation and each into their own “time.” Generations differ because of all that transpires over time, the changes in education, culture, politics, work, spirituality, human rights, what a family looks like, and on.
As children, our journey to adulthood is a journey of identity that is independent of our parents. Of course we are influenced by our families, but children are not meant to be clones of their parents.
This journey to identity is – and has to be – a rebellion of sorts in response to the status quo of the dominant generation.
Generations and the differences we carry with us should be seen as assets, not fodder for blame or condemnation or moral aspersions.
I am a Boomer. I am of that time but I am in this time too, with the rest of you, whatever your age or generation. There is no natural divide between generations alive today – except for the ones we fabricate and then deploy.
I get the differences. How I see work is different from one 30 years younger than I am. How we view money or God or health or whatever is different, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. I am grateful for this, because these generational differences and influences are drivers of change and discovery and new visions of a better tomorrow. Well, that’s my optimistic side shining through.
Anyway, what prompted this post were some other posts I came across where one generation’s representative was ranting about all the shit Boomers have done to the world. Some of these rants were coming from smart people, some not so much.
So let me respond.
Yes, my generation had its ample share of screw-ups. And many have been deadly to the environment, the economy, and social cohesion. Trust me when your children are grown up rebels, they will look at your generation and wonder WTF, too.
If you need to rant, go ahead, but I think it rather pointless to be frank. I do not understand the purpose of it, other than to rebuke others while, in effect, positioning your generation as something superior, more ethical, or whatever the motivation is.
As an older man, I am not the teenager I was, not the 30 year old, not the 50 year old – who I am today is not who I was yesterday. Condemning my generation or any generation as if it is a static thing seems rather self-serving, not constructive. It is a bias against a grouping of people. Such groupings are a common element of racism. Grouping people together and then assigning attributes and judgements to all of those people makes as much sense as most MEMES on Face Book.
Each generation is an aggregate of differences among the people in that generation. I have a feeling that an Indigenous person my age is likely a tad different from me.
The bad things that these other posts were ranting about piss me off too, but not because I feel guilty or immoral or bereft of humanity. And most certainly not because of the ranting in those posts.
Big stuff needs fixing. The environment. The rapid rise of indecent work. Racism. Education. Public Health. The erosion of human rights.
Every generation alive at the moment faces these challenges and are participants in the causes of the problems we need to fix. It’s a very wicked problem, and I suggest best addressed if we forgo wicked dispersions and get on with the change-making that needs doing.