Culture Tuesdays: Disparaging Generations

I’ve heard it in stories from the Gen-Xers, and the BabyBoomers, and the generation before that, each generation is looked down upon by those who have preceded it.

I’ve often wondered if it’s some kind of right of passage, or generational hazing, or some such thing, that each older generation feels the obligation to pass on to the next. I’ve yet to figure out why each successive generation seems to think it necessary to berate and belittle the next. It seems to always be the same, they’re lazy, they don’t share the same values, they don’t take responsibility seriously, and so on. Regardless of your generational bracket, my guess is that you’ve heard these very same things said about your  generation, as well. Over and over the cycle repeats itself, and no generation thinks it to be true of themselves, nor has the world completely collapsed as the next generation took the reigns and lead in the stead of their predecessors.

Cue the Millennials. Hello, I’m a Millennial, just barely, but I am. I used to shun the title because of the terrible things that were said about Millennials, and the low opinion that is held in regard of Millennials. I do so no longer. The more I studied the similarities in myself and a great many of the Millennials I know, the more I found myself proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with them. We are still getting our footing, to be sure, but we have great hope that we might actually positively effect the world. That last bit is due to the influence of the generations before us. They told us that we are special, that we could do anything that we put our mind to, and we are taking them up on it. Our inner champion, the one voice we hear cheering us on to change the world for good, comes from those who raised us, who called us to be better, and to do more.

Yet, somehow, that voice, at least societally speaking, has changed. Where we once found encouragement, we find derogatory remarks, demeaning posts, and scathing looks. I can confirm that this approach in disapproval will not have the desired effect, it never really has in the past with any other generation. Why should it start working now. Remember too, we are your progeny. It is the ones who came before us who formed us, taught us, and gave us our values. One might ask why they are not exactly the same in this case. For the answer to that we look back. We look to the generation that came before. Did the Babyboomers have the same values as their parents? No, in fact they were known for shunning their values, and that was passed to us. By example we were taught to examine values, and if they did not fit in our budding worldview to discard them, for good or ill. I have no doubt that this has been to our detriment as well as to our good.

In a coming post I will reflect on how we can change this disparaging of younger generations, and why I think it to be essential for our mutual betterment. Until next time be kind to one another.


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