Updated: Aug 14, 2019
A generation is "all of the people born and living at about the same time, regarded collectively."
Generations are the beautiful stems of life. They are so interesting because they are the makeup of culture. Through research you can always find the deeper influences of the times based on the generations. From traditionalist to the Alphas, there are so many similarities, yet so many differences.
The base word of generations is gene. Genes are a unit of heredity which is transferred from a parent to offspring and is held to determine some characteristic of the offspring. (websterdictionary.com)
The stem word (ation) denotes a result or product of action.
So in the essence of the word “generation” means the product or result of heredity transfer from parent to offspring.
My bishop always quotes a famous story about a young woman who asks her mother why she cuts the ends of her ham. Her mother states that she got the tradition from her mom. So the young lady goes to her grandmother and asks her why she cuts the ends of her ham. Her grandmother says, she got the tradition from her mother. So the young lady decides to go to her great-grandmother to ask why she cuts the ends of her ham. Her great- grandmother answers, "well my pan was too short, so I had to cut the ends".
This displays that the tradition was passed through three generations without a clear explanation of the origin.
Generational traditions do not only effect a family, but they effect the culture. Traditions spark trends. Trends cause movement through the masses. The masses will always succumb to trends and fads outside of any rebels.
Generations are built on experiences. As time expands the experience fades and the story behind it often distorts like the game of telephone.
My biggest question with every generation is, why does the most current generation always seem to be the weakest with the most resources?
· Born 1901-1926.
· Children of the WWI generation & fighters in WWII & young in the Great Depression…all leading to strong models of teamwork to overcome and progress.
· Their Depression was The Great One; their war was The Big One; their prosperity was the legendary Happy Days.
· They saved the world and then built a nation.
· They are the assertive and energetic doers.
· Excellent team players.
· Strongly interested in personal morality and near-absolute standards of right and wrong.
· Strong sense of personal civic duty, which means they vote.
· Marriage is for life, divorce and having children out of wedlock were not accepted.
· Strong loyalty to jobs, groups, schools, etc.
· There was no “retirement” you worked until you died or couldn’t work anymore.
· The labour-union-spawning generation.
· “Use it up, fix it up, and make it do, or do without.”
· Avoid debt…save and buy with cash.
· Age of radio and air flight; they were the generation that remembers life without airplanes, radio, and TV.
· Most of them grew up without modern conveniences like refrigerators, electricity and air conditioning.
· Sometimes called The Greatest Generation.
· Born 1927- 1945.
· Went through their formative years during an era of suffocating conformity, but also during the post war happiness: Peace! Jobs! Suburbs! Television! Rock ‘n Roll! Cars! Playboy Magazine!
· Korean and Vietnam War generation.
· The First Hopeful Drumbeats of Civil Rights!
· Pre-feminism women; women stayed home generally to raise children, if they worked it was only certain jobs like teacher, nurse or secretary.
· Men pledged loyalty to the corporation, once you got a job, you generally kept it for life.
· The richest, most free-spending retirees in history.
· Marriage is for life, divorce and having children out of wedlock were not accepted.
· In grade school, the gravest teacher complaints were about passing notes and chewing gum in class.
· They are avid readers, especially newspapers.
· “Retirement” means to sit in a rocking chair and live your final days in peace.
· The Big-Band/Swing music generation.
· Strong sense of trans-generational common values and near-absolute truths.
· Disciplined, self-sacrificing, & cautious.
Baby boomers are the demographic of people who were born just after the Second World War; this would give the baby boomer generation an approximate date of between 1946 and 1964. World war two ended in a 1945, and as a rule of thumb baby boomers are the children who are born as the war ended, as families settled down again. More about Baby Boomers >>
· Born between 1946 and 1964. Two sub-sets:
· 1. the save-the-world revolutionaries of the ’60s and ’70s;
· And 2. The party-hardy career climbers (Yuppies) of the ’70s/’80s.
· The “me” generation.
· “Rock and roll” music generation.
· Ushered in the free love and societal “non-violent” protests which triggered violence.
· Self-righteous & self-centred.
· Buy it now and use credit.
· Too busy for much neighbourly involvement yet strong desires to reset or change the common values for the good of all.
· Even though their mothers were generally housewives, responsible for all child rearing, women of this generation began working outside the home in record numbers, thereby changing the entire nation as this was the first generation to have their own children raised in a two-income household where mom was not omnipresent.
· The first TV generation.
· The first divorce generation, where divorce was beginning to be accepted as a tolerable reality.
· Began accepting homosexuals.
· Optimistic, driven, team-oriented.
· Envision technology and innovation as requiring a learning process.
· Tend to be more positive about authority, hierarchal structure and tradition.
· One of the largest generations in history with 77 million people.
· Their aging will change America almost incomprehensibly; they are the first generation to use the word “retirement” to mean being able to enjoy life after the children have left home. Instead of sitting in a rocking chair, they go skydiving, exercise and take up hobbies, which increases their longevity.
· The American Youth Culture that began with them is now ending with them and their activism is beginning to re-emerge.
Generation X in America Generation X (also known as Gen X) is the part of the population born between the Baby Boomers and the Millennials. More about Generation X >>
· Born between 1965 and 1980*
· The “latch-key kids” grew up street-smart but isolated, often with divorced or career-driven parents. Latch-Key came from the house key kids wore around their neck, because they would go home from school to an empty house.
· Very individualistic.
· Government and big business mean little to them.
· Want to save the neighbohood, not the world
· Feel misunderstood by other generations
· Cynical of many major institutions, which failed their parents, or them, during their formative years and are therefore eager to make marriage work and “be there” for their children
· Don’t “feel” like a generation, but they are
· Raised in the transition phase of written based knowledge to digital knowledge archives; most remember being in school without computers and then after the introduction of computers in middle school or high school
· Desire a chance to learn, explore and make a contribution
· Tend to commit to self rather than an organization or specific career. This generation averages 7 career changes in their lifetime, it was not normal to work for a company for life, unlike previous generations.
· Society and thus individuals are envisioned as disposable.
· AIDS begins to spread and is first lethal infectious disease in the history of any culture on earth which was not subjected to any quarantine.
· Beginning obsession of individual rights prevailing over the common good, especially if it is applicable to any type of minority group.
· Raised by the career and money conscious Boomers amidst the societal disappointment over governmental authority and the Vietnam war.
· School problems were about drugs.
· Late to marry (after cohabitation) and quick to divorce…many single parents.
· Into labels and brand names.
· Want what they want and want it now but struggling to buy, and most are deeply in credit card debt.
· It is has been researched that they may be conversationally shallow because relating consists of shared time watching video movies, instead of previous generations.
· Short on loyalty & wary of commitment; all values are relative…must tolerate all peoples.
· Self-absorbed and suspicious of all organization.
· Survivors as individuals.
· Cautious, sceptical, unimpressed with authority, self-reliant.
· Born between 1981* and 2000*.
· Aka “The 9/11 Generation” “Echo Boomers” America’s next great generation brings a sharp departure from Generation X.
· They are nurtured by omnipresent parents, optimistic, and focused.
· Respect authority.
· Falling crime rates. Falling teen pregnancy rates. But with school safety problems; they have to live with the thought that they could be shot at school, they learned early that the world is not a safe place.
· They schedule everything.
· They feel enormous academic pressure.
· They feel like a generation and have great expectations for themselves.
· Prefer digital literacy as they grew up in a digital environment. Have never known a world without computers! They get all their information and most of their socialization from the Internet.
· Prefer to work in teams.
· With unlimited access to information tend to be assertive with strong views.
· Envision the world as a 24/7 place; want fast and immediate processing.
· They have been told over and over again that they are special, and they expect the world to treat them that way.
· They do not live to work, they prefer a more relaxed work environment with a lot of hand holding and accolades.
· Born after 2001*
· In 2006 there were a record number of births in the US and 49% of those born were Hispanic, this will change the American melting pot in terms of behaviour and culture. The number of births in 2006 far outnumbered the start of the baby boom generation, and they will easily be a larger generation.
· Since the early 1700’s the most common last name in the US was ‘Smith’ but not anymore, now it is Rodriguez.
· There are two age groups right now:
· (a) Tweens.
· (a1) Age 8-12 years old.
· (a2) There will be an estimated 29 million tweens by 2009.
· (a3) $51 billion is spent by tweens every year with an additional $170 billion spent by their parents and family members directly for them.
· (b)Toddler/Elementary school age.
· 61 percent of children 8-17 have televisions in their rooms.
· 35 percent have video games.
· 14 percent have a DVD player.
· 4 million will have their own cell phones. They have never known a world without computers and cell phones.
· Have Eco-fatigue: they are actually tired of hearing about the environment and the many ways we have to save it.
· With the advent of computers and web based learning, children leave behind toys at younger and younger age. It’s called KGOY-kids growing older younger, and many companies have suffered because of it, most recognizable is Mattel, the maker of Barbie dolls. In the 1990’s the average age of a child in their target market was 10 years old, and in 2000 it dropped to 3 years old. As children reach the age of four and five, old enough to play on the computer, they become less interested in toys and begin to desire electronics such as cell phones and video games.
· They are Savvy consumers and they know what they want and how to get it and they are over saturated with brands.
Do you see some of the similarities? Do you see the major differences?
Between the first few generations there is a priority of responsibility and relationship. As time continues it dwindles. The last few are built on accomplishment, intelligence and technology.
I can relate to each generation by filling the blank with family members.
My great grandmother was born when airplanes were a thought and something to look forward to in the future. She was a realist at best. She loved her children and husband, but would let them know exactly how she felt about them, no matter how it shattered their esteem. She was loyal to her husband and a little bit over protective as well. Her kids were her life. She knew no trades outside of being a hand maiden at home. She was an amazing cook, who made all of her food in a fire stove by beginning her meals before the sun came up. She always said, your day should be done by noon. She was the sweetest lady. She had both legs amputated due to illness, yet died at a very old age. She was around 100.
My grandparents (I had all four) were all very dedicated to their families. There wasn’t much affection or accolade. However they were always there. They all were great cooks and both grandfathers were in the war and referenced it often. One set of grandparents split at death. One set separated but stayed married until death. Even though one set separated, they both valued marriage enough to never divorce. They were all hard working. Family came first. Food always brought the family together. Work was a very close second. My grandparents missed work only if they were hospitalized. My grandmothers were both very dependent on their husbands and children. One of my grandmother’s never received a driver’s licence. They valued family gatherings, church and giving back to their communities. Both sets of grand parents waited until their old ages to release family secrets and family rumors. The theme of both grandparent’s home was whatever happened in the house, stayed in the house.
My parents are baby boomers. Both of my parents had both of their parents in the home. My mother suffered from a broken family when her parents separated. Both parents had very traumatic events happen in their childhood that would have probably ultimately broken my sibling and I. My mother suffered abuse at the hands of relatives and a friend in school. She endured major rejection from her Father and became a hermit. My father endured racism in the south due to being the first family in his town to be drafted into an integrated school. He and his siblings were the target of their neighborhood due to being the only black children in the whole school once integration laws were passed. They both valued hard work however my mother juggled protecting her children from the hurt she endured and working. She chose to be a stay at home mom for about 7 years and then went back to work. My father worked hard. He still works hard, even after being retired. My parents raised my brother and I with a
moral code to treat others right. We were also taught to have a higher power as a support system. My mom made little out of much and we were taught to never reveal.
My brother is a part of Generation X. My brother was a late bloomer. He was a good student, went to college, changing his major a few times. He began a career in media, a field we never thought he would pursue. His friends were very important to him. He did annual trips and had a bro-code with his friends that still exists to this day. He got married in his 30’s. He has 4 children and is an outstanding father like our father was. He is a hard worker and family is very important to him. He was my first babysitter. My brother was very socially aware. He is pretty versed in politics and could be mistaken as a conspiracy theorist. Money over everything. The feminist movement is fed is being fed in this generation.
I am a millennial. I was reared in the dawning of the technology age. My moral code was intact due to my upbringing. Church is often referenced in jesting in my generation. I set major goals, but have never been able to accomplish all that I’ve set. I quit some of the same jobs my parents worked and retired from. Pension and retirement comes as a far second to feeling appreciated and acknowledged on a job. The minute a millennial is refused the pay they want, they are on the newest job board searching for a new job. I am never able to say that I have invested as much in a job/ career than my parents. I switched my major 4 times before realizing I was not a great student and leaving college. I am currently enrolled in school completing the first major I chose. I got married at 22 and had a baby at 28. My spouse and I both aspire to be full time entrepreneurs, having multiple streams of income and never clocking in to a job again. I live in a blossoming organic generation. Everything natural is better. Natural hair, food and products assists with healthier lifestyles. Kitchen gadgets, fast food and fast friendly service are very important. This is the DIY generation. The feminist movement is peaking and the LGBTQ community gains a voice.
I have a youth group full of Generation Y’s. Technology is what they understand. Writing in cursive stopped being taught in this generation. They were supplied with laptops to do all of their homework and class assignments on. They take education very seriously. College to entrepreneurship are the trend of this culture. Entrepreneurship is causing a major hit to established businesses. Money motivates this generation. If goals are interrupted by relationships, the relationship will be at risk. Climate change is very important to this generation. LGBTQ and females run a majority of the scene.
This breakdown shows the vast gap of generations is relationship. Can you see the shift of morals and values to wants and needs? The relationship shifts from family, community and church to money and machine. How can a society remain strong on these changes? How can we work together to bridge this gap?