"Each Generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it and wiser than the one after it." George Orwell
In previous posts we have discussed how understanding others will help us to have better relationships in all areas of our lives. We can be more effective at home, in work situations and in ministry if we take the time to understand where the other person's thinking is coming from. We can be a more motivating parent, teacher, instructor, trainer, boss, coworker, adult child, brother, sister, aunt or uncle if we know our audience. We touch on this with the personality tests but there is another piece of the puzzle that we must look at.
Let’s try an analogy to help understand the issue. What often happens when a family gets together for a holiday or a vacation? Four generations — you (let’s assume you’re a Boomer); your children (Xers); your younger children and possibly grandchildren (Gen Y); your brothers and sisters (Boomers); and your parents (Veterans) — everyone wants to get along and have fun but then the irritations begin to surface.
Grandma or grandpa ( the Veterans age 62 -85) begin to say things about your children and grandchildren being lazy ("back in my day children would get up and do the dishes!") The Boomer's (you and your siblings, ages 41 - 61) are thinking, " Why does mom/dad have to be so critical, can't they see the positive instead of the negative?" Then the children (Gen X ages 27 - 42) checking their laptops and the stock market or younger children or grandchildren (Gen Y, ages ? - 26) listening to music or playing games on their iPhone or Ipod look up wondering what the problem is???
Is that when things become testy? How many times is there so much friction created that family members leave the gathering saying never again? Do you usually just think, " this is just the way our family is." Could this be due to generational differences and not just be “the way the family is?”
Whether at a family gathering or in the workplace, how do you manage the different generational differences - whether it be conflicting work ethics, different values and or styles? How do you all just get along, have fun together and work without conflict?
Every generation has created its own style and every generation says the same things about other generations — “They don’t get it” or “They have it so much easier than we did.”
We are going to take the next few post to look at the four different generations that work and play together in our world today and see if a little understanding may lead to a greater place of peace, unity and enjoyment of each other.