In recent years there has been a silent and social war brewing. It is a war between tradition and new thought. Every so many years it happens and it’s been happening longer than I can remember. It’s the war between generations. The big one now seems to be between the Bombers (baby boomers) and the Millennials. So the teacher in me just has to give you some background.
Webster’s definition of a generation:
A body of living beings constituting a single step in the line of descent from an ancestor
Example: your mom and dad give birth to you, you are now in a new generation than them.
The last few generations
The Lost Generation – (1880’s to the early 1900’s) This generation got its name due to the lack of direction they had after WW1. Many lives and families were lost due to the war leaving those left to figure things out without much guidance.
The Greatest Generation – (1901 to around 1927) This generation was the Great Depression Generation and they fought in WW2. This generation (in my opinion) should always receive so much respect. They grew up in hardship. They literally had nothing, fought to protect what little they had and the freedoms of the free world.
The Silent Generation – (Mid 1920’s to the early 1940’s) They say the name comes from them not being able to speak out. They were born in turmoil but when most of them came of age after WW2, they could not voice their opinions about the changing times. Technology and innovation started to grow at the time and was starting to become the norm. They are also the smallest generation.
Baby Boomers (Mid 1940’s to Mid 1960’s) The Generation that was able to grow up in abundance and prosperity. They were able to focus on self improvement and more domestic issues. The name comes from the boom in population because of the rise of birth rates in their generation.
Generation X (Mid 1960’s to early 1980’s) Gen X is seen as children raised by TV and brought up in the rise of divorce rates in america. They were given a voice by new forms of music and MTV. Xer’s were considered dark, slackers, and brooding. Today they are considered very independent.
Millennials (Early 1980’s to Late 1990’s, early 2000’s) They got their name due to the fact that they would be the generation to mature in the New Millennium. They were born in a population boom similar to The Boomers. They also helped to usher in an information and social boom. Social norms are very different for millennials and most tend to be late bloomers in terms of previous generations. Example: living with parents longer, driving and drinking at later ages, marrying and starting families at older ages.
Gen Z (late 1990’s to early 2000) Gen Z or iGens get their name from being brought up in a world where information and technology is the norm for them. They are a very visual, social, and internet driven generation. They also tend to be very high consumers (apps, food, coffee, clothes, etc…). Their generation seems to be still under study.
Generation Alpha (early 2010 to 2025 or 2030) Alpha Gens get their name from the beginning of the greek alphabet. Since Gen Z would be the end of the Roman Alphabet. It fits them because they will be a generation that will have a lot of say in today’s world via social media. The last 2 generations were introduced and grew into technology and information. This generation lives with it and while i’m typing this my 4 year old son is on youtube, on his pad, navigating it like a 10 year old. Current studies also show they will be the most educated generation to date.
Ok, now that you are informed, I can explain to you the silent war raging all around you. It’s the war between Boomers and Millennials. You see, for some time now these 2 generations have been at odds with each other. Again this is nothing new. Every generation has had a gripe with the last generation for one reason or another. Today, those gripes are not confined to parents arguing with their children in the home. It’s on social media, for everyone to see. The most interesting thing about this war of words and ideas is that it’s against two generations who are in a lot of ways alike.
What’s the issue?
Boomers: Millennials are soft. They complain about their lives too much, get a job and tough it out. Everything is not going to be “P.C.” (politically correct).
Millennials: Ok, boomer (a way to just say whatever Boomer). Well if you stop choking our economy maybe I can get a better job. Hey, you know the earth you are killing, I have to live on it. Get a job, Ihave 3, and I’m still broke. Yes I will move out and get married, when I actually have money.
Well the Boomers were brought up in a time where you “did what you had to do” to provide for your family. Even if it meant lying on a job application. They worked hard jobs, and long hours, BUT, they benefited from it, a lot. Safeguards were in place so they would not experience another depression.
Cost of a house $5k to $12k
Cost of rent $250 to $500
Cost of a car $2k to $3500
Average yearly salary – low 2k high 6k
SO, as you can see they made money comparable to the time. Taxes didn’t kill boomers and when boomers bought a house at $7K that means you made an investment that will be worth close to $100K by the time you sell it. Just a small example.
Well that is one of the problems Millennials are having. If you buy a house today at $250K and sell it 20 years from now the house will be worth over 300k. A lot of people would blame this on the recession and the crash of the housing market in the early 2000’s. Ok fair (maybe).
But what about the bills. In the 50’s the only bills households had to pay were electric, gas, water, phone, and maybe TV. Today millennials pay electric, gas, water, cable, internet, cell phone, and various streaming services. Now, yes there are alternatives, but, sometimes those alternatives cost even more. Tiny living, living off the grid, these types of lifestyles are not totally free. You would have to pay a nice chunk of money up front to get started. Once you pay that you are done. But it’s a route not taught to the masses.
Job or Career movement
So I mentioned before money. Any one from any generation would say, “hey, get a job”. I agree, but should I be content with a glass ceiling? I work in education and I see the proper movement of older teachers retiring to let the younger teachers come in and continue the job of educating the young minds of america. But in some areas of our economy the Boomers will not move out the way. My dad for example still continues to do tasks he taught me and my brothers. My brother asked him one day “why did you teach us if you didn’t trust us to do it later in life?” He said “we won’t do it right”. This is a small example that explains so much. Basically (in my opinion) I think a lot of Boomers think we will screw up what they have worked so hard to make and maintain. Well we might, but isn’t that how you learn. I can only do what I am taught. Also maybe the old method doesn’t work anymore.
It is hard for us to move into a position of higher pay when we are stuck and the person holding our spot won’t just move on.
I was watching an old episode of Star Wars: Clone Wars. In the episode there was a group of peaceful villagers. The Jedi and troopers landed on their planet. It was a planet in the neutral zone of space. Well the village elder said he did not believe in fighting. His son agreed but also did not believe in not defending himself or his people. The Sepratist army came and tried to destroy the village. The elder would accept no help from the Jedi and said “if it is our fate to die here than so be it”. The son openly objected and helped the Jedi to fight back. In the end the elder was disappointed.
My point is just because the son did not follow tradition doesn’t mean he was wrong. The world is a constant state of flux, adaptation, and evolution. New people bring new ideas. That does not mean we forget our traditions. It means we learn to make them better.
I think older people see us in this new age of technology and information and feel we have it easy. Well you made the technology. Sorry we are using better than you, LOL.
In reality we have it harder. I can’t just go to a studio and say I’m a writer and get my dream job. They would look at my background, social media, check for a degree, etc..
I can’t just get married for love. I have to see will my credit score hurt or help us? Does my job pay enough to sustain a family? (Nope).
Unfortunately this silent war happens every generation. I imagine myself looking at my son in the future..
Me: Boy, take off that head set. Come back to reality for a minute.
Son: Sigh, ok cuz, yea, dads yelling again, give me a min. Dad, I was talking to Cousin K. Actually having a real conversation, just in Interspace. (under breath) you are so old.
Me: Is something wrong with your watch? Do you need the headset to talk to her?
Son: Well she had a question about a guy, and was showing me some pics, we were also having a lightsaber battle too…
Me: Nevermind, sorry I asked. I don’t know why y’all need these headsets. The TV goes 3D, your joystick is dusty. In my day we went from…
Son: 8 bit to 4k, I know dad. You also heard people when they called you and didnt have to drown out the outside world when you played. I know. Look to make it up to you pick one of your consoles PS7, Nintendo AR, Xbox 3s, any one and I’ll play a game with you. When can even play Assassins Creed WWII.
Me: (Smiling), Boy, you good. Ok, pick up the sticks. Let the old man show you what skill is.
My wife: Y’all not gonna sit there and play video games all day. Catching poke monsters and playing Ghost Duty. These dishes still need to be washed and I’m not turning on the dishwasher with 2 able body men in this house.
Son: Poke-monsters and Ghost Duty. I take it back, Mom is older than you.