Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Can we transcend our generation?

By S. Derrickson Moore
LAS CRUCES — I’ve had some interesting calls lately about the state of the world from a G.I. She continues to valiantly wage battles for what’s right and deserves the highest medals, but as far as I know, she’s never served in any branch of the military.
Some of the best conversations of my life have been shared with my Silent BBF, an eloquent soul who always has a lot of helpful and inspiring things to say about just about everything.
Then there is the amazing soul who has contributed so much to my life since the day he was born. It seems strange that it is proper to refer to him as X, when he has a perfectly good name ... in fact, I named him myself.
He and another X are the parents of a Millennial, an already-innovative example of the best of the new millennium, though he was born a half dozen years before we reached the year 2000.
If some of this seems a bit confusing, even contradictory, it’ll probably help clear things up to tell you I’m a Boomer.
I’ve been following PBS’s “America’s Generations With Chuck Underwood.” Underwood, author of “The Generational Imperative,” offers some interesting insights and definitions of what constitutes a generation.
Here is the timeline Underwood offers: G.I. Generation: 1901-1926, The Silents: 1927-1945, Baby Boomers: 1946-1964, Generation X: 1965-1981, Millennials (first wave): 1982-1994, (second wave) 1995-present.
It’s an interesting starting point for conversations in your own multi-generational circle of family and friends.
Not everybody agrees on the names, or even the time spans for generational definitions. When I was taking psychology and anthropology courses, back in the 60s and 70s, the standard contemporary definition was about 30 years, based on the time it took one group to grow up and give birth to the next generation. That gets tricky, since there have been eras and societies in which teen parents are the norm, in contrast to recent definitions of adolescence that extend to the late 20s.
Even if they agree on the timelines, many I’ve talked to have their own ideas about naming their generations. Instead of “G.I.,” those who lived through the Great Depression and World Wars I and II, understandably prefer Tom Brokaw’s homage: “The Greatest Generation.” I agree, though we should remember that generation produced Hitler, Stalin and the other super-villains their generation battled ... including the racists and racist policies that the so-called “Silent” generation took the lead in fighting. Consider the accomplishments of a few of the most famous “Silents”: Martin Luther King Jr., Gloria Steinem, the Beatles.
I’ve yet to meet a Gen-Xer who was happy with that generic term, or the equally deprecating “Slacker,” or “Me Generation” monikers. The newest generation seems equally irked by labels like Gen Y or Z.
Maybe we should identify generations with less emotionally-charged labels. While there are admirable motives — to help us study and understand generations and bridge generation gaps — some think we should not label them at all.
It all goes back to the nature vs. nurture debates.
After long experience with five of the “officially” designated groups, I’d say that we are all profoundly influenced by the times we live in, but our common humanity trumps our vintage.
We all have the power to learn, evolve and grow. I wish we put more energy and resources into studying (and emulating) the stainless steel souls who manage to preserve the best and transcend the worst of our worlds and times.
S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at; (575) 541-5450. To share comments, go to and click on Blogzone and Las Cruces Style. Follow her on Twitter @DerricksonMoore.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Of course, we can transcend.