All this about Generations X, Y, and Z is, of course, a cliché no more accurate than “The Me Decade” back in the day.
All this about Generations X, Y, and Z is, of course, a cliché no more accurate than “The Me Decade” back in the day. Remember The Me Decade? It started as an entertaining, insightful essay on postwar America. The popular press loved it, American preachers jumped on it and, after a few months, The Me Decade was turned into The Me Generation—by which they meant people like me. They meant Baby Boomers. They said we were self-centered and unreliable. They said we were sex-obsessed, drug-addled and undisciplined. All we cared about, they said, was feeling good. Which made our mothers blink back tears and our fathers shake their heads and wonder how it all went so wrong.
The preachers and the press were partly right about Boomers. And partly wrong. America was, and is, a cultural soup. We stew on a back burner, every generation adding unique flavors to the blend. Generalizations seldom reflect anybody’s reality. Some Boomers went to Vietnam; some to Canada. Most stayed put. Some smoked dope, a few were Jesus Freaks, a lot went to college, most went to work. Boomers did not end civilization—though a few in government took a good crack at it before finally aging out. Mostly, Boomers blended into the soup; just like everyone.
I expect the generations following mine will do more or less the same. Most of our children are, or soon will be competent, capable, productive, reasonably fun human beings. Kids have a way of becoming that for the most part. Eventually, almost all of them end up turning all adult on us. Whether we raise them that way or not, they take their place in what old folks like to call the real world. Still, I can’t help noticing that a sizable number of our offspring are not much interested in that real world. “Real to whom?” they wonder.
from Raising Adults by Jim Hancock