Boomers vs. Millennials, or not

“I suppose every generation has a conceit of itself which elevates it, in its own opinion, above that which comes after it. ” Margaret Oliphant, Scottish romance novelist, 1828-1897

It’s hard to turn on a computer or flip through a periodical in the U.S. these days without coming across a cartoon or meme or even a news story in which one of these generations isn’t smacking down the other.

Mary Berry, Martha Stewart, Norm Abram. It takes time to master that kind of skill — and we’re all the better for it that they did. But, I wouldn’t want to see any of them running a basketball down the court. That takes youth and strength.

As a GenXer – who has experienced a lifetime of Boomer, well, “exceptionalism” — it’s tempting to pop some corn and watch the show. But, I can’t. And, no one else can, either. America has enough division going on without a generational war ripping through.

The most ridiculous part of this particular dust up is how much each generation needs the other.

It’s true, on both the personal and practical levels.

Boomers need Millennials. To love, enthuse and amuse them — this generation is, after all, comprised of Boomers’ children and grandchildren. To make sweet little grandbabies who wear stripey PJs to bed. To create a reason to hope. To be tomorrow’s money — paying it into the system that will fund Boomers’ Medicare and their Social Security. To provide the eldercare and medical care many people need in later life. To provide the energy and ideas and zeal that make America work.

And, Millennials need Boomers. To love, enthuse and amuse them — again, Boomers are this generation’s parents and grandparents. To provide a support network for all those PJ-wearing babies — hello, grammy! To remind of reasons to hope. To be today’s money — providing a reliable source of right-now employment and start-up funds for future sources of employment. To provide the perspective and caution that keeps America from going off the tracks.

Each generation – both social designations such as Millennial and Boomer and plain-old stages of life – has its own strengths and weaknesses. In a family, we fill in the gaps for each other because we love each other.

If we want our nation to function well, we need to do the same thing — if not out of love, out of necessity. God help the nation in which one generation is actually wishing another ill.

31 thoughts on “Boomers vs. Millennials, or not”

  1. While my mother is still alive our / her family spans four generations, 92 years and three continents. Most of us get on well, though in one branch of the family there is a schism ever widening, with a mother and daughter at the heart of it. But I think that is more complex than just a generation thing. The media make more of the diffences than really exist. In Britain the younger generation are finding it so hard to buy homes and the press will talk about the older generation who have stolen their future. Bankers, big business and politicians are more responsble for that! Parents and grandparents are helping out when they can. And then there’s the Brexit fiasco with divisions not just between generations, but parts of society. I’m a Remainer and voted by instinct as well as supporting what our children wanted, but the big issues that split us are here to stay. But on the positive side most of the older generation are much more tolerant than in the past.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. (We have multiple generations in our family, too. :)) Outside the family, I think we all pretty much like each other in person. When it’s on paper, not as much. I think times are tough in ways we never expected and we all want to lay blame because no one knows quite what to do. I hope we can figure it out. If one generation or other large demographic isn’t making it, we’re all in trouble.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Amen! We can ill afford to discount one another. I was raised on this message, and it has enriched my life in manifold ways. We are all living epistles, needing to be read. Once a person is gone, their volume of life is gone as well. I don’t want to miss the stories, wisdom, and life experience of those around me. We definitely need one another ♥

    Liked by 3 people

    1. 🙂 Very true, Mitch. And, isn’t it a pesky fact that most things worth doing are difficult?! I suspect we all (across generations and beyond) really want the same basic things. Dignity, safety, love, comfortable housing, stable access to food and clean water. Maybe we can start on the issues where we all agree. There really are some!! I hope!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Mitch Teemley and commented:
    My Feature Blogger this week is long-time journalist Nora Edinger of Joy Journal. Nora’s optimistic but practical takes on life, recipes, faith-related non-fiction and, in her words, ” Christian chick lit” that is “a clean read, but contemporary (as in, there isn’t a single Amish buggy or Victorian-era cowboy)” consistently engage Millennials, Boomers, and everyone in between.

    Heck, even uncategorizables like me like her.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ” I suspect we all (across generations and beyond) really want the same basic things. Dignity, safety, love, comfortable housing, stable access to food and clean water.”

    I’m pretty sure you are right on that! We humans have thick skuils and all too often lose sight of what really matters. You did a splendid job of calling it to our attention! Bravo!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Students of history will know that the Generation Gap is as old as time, and each new generation is taking the entire world to hell in a hand basket. Until the next generation comes along. Yet, somehow, we look around one day and discover that we’re not in a hand basket at all. We’re at home with our children and grandchildren and friends of all ages–and we’re all doing just fine.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Visiting here from Mitch Teemley’s blog–Appreciate your positive take on the generational divides. There ARE advantages to multi-generational relationships; let’s focus on those. A well-thought out post and well-written, Nora!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. My co-workers are ages 19-65 and I love to see how we all get along. The 19 year old’s take interest in the older ones and how life used to be and the older ones take interest in how the younger ones live. We sell things online (lots of it vintage) for Goodwill, so that adds to the interesting mix. Sometimes a younger one will need to ask an older one about a particular item they are selling because they have no clue what it is. One time a 19 year old brought me a vintage hanging lamp asking what it was – I was shocked he didn’t know, but I guess there’s nothing like that around nowadays. It was green colored glass with a long metal hanging chain. It’s always pretty interesting what happens in a day at work. I love my job 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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