So maybe you didn’t read the headline, or it piqued your curiosity. Granted, it’s a bit like some of the “clickbait” stories we see pop up in our news feeds. However, in this instance, the headlined instructions are appropriate since one of its intended audiences is a younger generation. Recent articles popping up in news feeds across the country have been written by this generation and relate to perceived knowledge about another. Okay, so you can read on to learn more if you’ve made it this far.
I have a friend from the Millennial generation who commented. “I don’t like the generational thing and how they lump us together as if we are all the same.” Perhaps this story will share the sentiment, but we’ve been dealing with the age-old issue since the beginning of time. Whether it be a generation, politics, religion, race, or another trait, there’s a tendency to make assumptions and judgments without having “the rest of the story.”
Recently, I’ve been in tune with headlines that propose to understand the preferences of the Boomer generation. A sampling of
the articles ranges from “Ten Things That Will Die Out with the Boomers,” to the “Twelve Items That Boomers Don’t Want to Give Up,” and finally, “Proof That Boomers Have No Idea How Much Anything Costs.” Sure, the headlines are clickbait, but the content is interesting to peruse and analyze, to say the least.
In full disclosure, I can be “assigned” to the Boomer generation, although nearer to its range end than the beginning. So, I might be labeled a “younger” boomer. Reading those articles gave me several chuckles and a few concerns as I pondered the generalities, assumptions, and judgments. Ironically, the authors demonstrated the same perceived lack of tolerance, acceptance, flexibility, and openness that they were touting.
Many of the revelations in the lists and insights surrounded electronics and the perceived resistance to adoption. Items like hanging onto landlines and the refusal to communicate electronically via text or
email. “They (boomers) want you to talk live and in person.”
I doubt that I’m that rare, but I tend to be an early adopter of technology. I, too, like to capture it in an email or text to document the conversation or transaction. I like the fact that I can communicate with a client at 1 pm or 1 am and allow them to respond at their convenience rather than mine.
As I reviewed the lists, I was struck by the fact that what was burdening the authors about the Boomer generation really didn’t apply in my case. In fact, probably 90% or more were inaccurate statements when it came to my personal preferences. So, what are we to gain from this reality? Here’s the 2055 part.
It’s probably unfair to pen (or AI) an article based on perceptions, generalities, and supposed observations without delving into the details for understanding. The same might be said for the roots of ageism, racism, grief, etc. In fact, until you’ve lived it or experienced it, you will never have a deep understanding of what another brings to the table. This perspective suggests the thought, “Children should listen to their parents because they've been your age before, but you've never been theirs.” Today’s discussions will take it to parenting styles, and unfortunate circumstances around the parents who should have never been parents to begin with. However, the basic premise still applies as we have much to learn fr
om the other and alternate sides to the stories, especially when tempered with experience.
In 2055, the current millennials will have had an additional 32 years of life experience that they will feel entitles them to their opinions and selections. They’ll watch as societal norms become the exception. Old ways will transform slightly and return as the latest and greatest thing. The patterns are always there, and history does tend to repeat itself.
Advice to the younger generations. If this article survives until 2055, take a moment to remember the ones written about the boomer generation in 2023. Your perspective today will help you understand why boomers were chuckling at your assumptions 32 years ago. Perhaps now you’ll recognize that you were driven not by the concern of gaining insight or understanding but only a desire to get your article read. You will also see that you have a good deal to contribute to a workplace, community, or society if only they would be open to a seasoned p
erspective for consideration rather than blazing a trail laden with potholes of mistakes that were avoidable.
By 2055, maybe all will have learned to incorporate the e
xperience of other generations rather than criticizing the journey and the perspective. Ageism would vanish and we would all stand to benefit.