Understanding each generation

Picking on the younger generation? Havn’t we always done that?

When I was growing up, the Generation X’s as my lot were known, were living in a world of fun, frivolity and in my part of the world, relative freedom. We felt safe from wars and terror and thus cared more about MTV and Michael Jackson than Macbeth, Marxism or anything else remotely intellectual or revolutionary. The walkman was our tool of trade and Donkey Kong and Frogger consumed hours of our precious time. Dungeons and Drgaons was to send many to hell and we began to whinge about the economy as we left school and headed into a recession.

But then we grew up and everyone realised we weren’t that bad. We went to Uni, sometimes completed it, sometimes not, got jobs, mortgages and babies and started the cycle again.

Now we sit back and look at our ‘instagramming’ and ‘snapchatting’ youth as indulgent narcissists and rue the hours this new generation waste on social media and Minecraft.

In the 50s they thought comic books would unravel the very fabric of society and turn innocent kids into delinquents. In the 60’s Elvis Presley was going to send pristine young ladies on a moral discourse and the flower power generation of the 70’s were just stoned and lazy lovemaking hippies.

But isnt that the very role of the older generation? To idolise our past and fear for the future of our kids?

As Chaucer wrote many many generations ago in Canterbury Tales “youth and all else are often at debaat”.

I wonder what my kids will be saying about those kids born in the next decade?

We often talk of the teens of today being narcissistic with their ‘selfies’ and oversharing of every daily movement. There is no doubt that it can be seen as indulgent.

But narcissm carries negative connotations. It is a disorder that is defined as lack of empathy, exploiting others, envy and an insatiable hunger for attention. So are they narcisstic or  just confident? Or are they indeed deftly low on self esteem that this is their only tool to portray a more appealing self?

Or are they just doing what every generation before them has done? Used what means they had at their disposal to explore their self, connect with others and express their individual identity?


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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Heather

    Loving your posts, Martine. It’s so easy to be negative technology but this just creates less understanding of what our kids are doing which in turn widens the generation gap. I am certainly guilty of this but trying to change my ways!

  2. Lisa Barton-Collins

    I know it’s the stereotype to complain about the younger generation, but to be fair, my daughter and the majority of her friends are the most thoughtful, sensitive, socially aware people I know. They are accepting of people who are gay, disabled, foreign or aged. They care about the environment and volunteer their time. These are the kids who grew up wanting to save the whales and repair the mistakes of the generations before them. In contrast, almost every aged person I come across in my travels is rude in the extreme, go figure 🙂 When it comes to social media, my husband and I are the ones with competing instagram accounts, whereas my daughter doesn’t even have an account and hardly goes on facebook. Maybe my house is the exception?

  3. I agree Martine, people have always said, in the words of a drunken college lecturer when I was at uni 30 years ago: ‘The youth of today, they don’t deserve to be young!” I cannot imagine what will own kids will complain about when their kids are kids… boggles the mind!

  4. I definitely think that children/teens of today are using what means they have to express themselves, but unfortunately I also think that sometimes their eyes are not opened to the other means that are actually available because they have so many more options than the older generations did and it’s the older generations, like my generation, and as a mother to teach them to experience those other parts of life they may be a little oblivious to given the current tech world we live in.

  5. EssentiallyJess

    Yes!!! Totally agree! Every generation fears what it doesn’t understand, and I see it in the way my older parents make disparaging comments about things I do. Just because it’s new, doesn’t make it bad. And yes,a s parents we have to be aware of possible consequences, and set boundaries, but it’s not as evil as it’s often made out.
    Love this post Martine.

  6. Bec | Mumma Tells

    I think you’re on to something. Hard to ignore the pattern, isn’t it?

  7. iSophie

    Great angle on this! I just get annoyed by it all.. but what you’ve said does make sense! #teamIBOT

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