Millennial Makeover predicted the shift in politics based on generational theory. Hear the authors describe their work.
Millennial Makeover is a book that came out March 2008 and describes how the Millennials would affect the upcoming election. It is based on the ideas of Neil Howe and William Strauss. I found this recording of a C-Span show where the authors give a summary of their research. It’s worth a watch if you are interested in the interaction of generational research and politics:
I should probably get a copy of the book (which just came out in paperback) to fill out my library…
Do Baby Boomers drive you crazy? Here’s 6 reasons you should listen to them anyway.
Baby Boomers (born 1943-1961) are a fairly opinionated and outspoken bunch. I read somewhere in reference to the Boomer generation “Never has a generation said more and done less than the Baby Boomers”. As they enter Elderhood (age 63 – 85) they are beginning to feel the need to express their opinions more vehemently, knowing that they have precious little time left to do so. Although they often drive Gen X’ers (1961-1981) and Millennials (born 1982-200?) with all their talk, there are some reasons why we should consider listening to them.
Some of them actually know what they are talking about. The plethora of opinions coming from Boomers almost guarantees that at least some of them are right. Figuring out which ones can be an onerous task, but it is still important to not dismiss them all.
They are, for younger Gen X’ers and older Millennials, our parents. Gen X’ers may not see this as much of a qualification (since we were largely ignored in our childhood), but your parents probably know you better than most (doesn’t that drive you nuts?).
They were not the only ones responsible for our current crisis. It’s easy to blame older generations for your problems – the Boomers certainly did this with the GI Generation (born 1901-1924) in the back in the 1960’s. Although the excess of the Boomers (and yes, X’ers) in the 90’s and 00’s is seen as the cause of our current problems, the issue goes back much further. Truth be told, it is probably what Tom Brokaw called the “Greatest Generation” (The GI’s) that should shoulder much of the blame for our current problems. They are the ones that built the ideal of the “American Dream” with ticky-tacky houses in the ‘burbs, superhighways, mass agribusiness and a culture of consumerism. They may have not been responsible for the extremes, but they set the ball rolling. The Boomers sure got that right.
They want to leave their mark. Although this can be frustrating at times (see my previous post for the problems related to leaving a legacy) it means they are uniquely motivated to take action at this time in their lives. Many Boomers are tired of talking and want to DO something.
They often want to mentor younger generations. Part of this relates to the Boomers moving into Elderhood, but it is also the nature of the style of this generation. They like to be leaders, and leaders need followers. I have personally found that Boomers make great mentors. Sometimes you may need to stroke their egos, but they have a lot of valuable life experience to give.
They have fond memories of their youth. The Silent Generation (born 1925-1942) were “old” right from the start, never having much of a chance to shake things up in their youth. Generation X was latch-keyed from an early age and had a tough time as young adults. But Boomers were cherished as children and threw a wild party in their young adulthood. Let them tell you some stories, you might learn a thing or two.
It pains an X’er like me to admit: They may have talked about doing more than they actually did, but they still are great teachers. Lend them an ear and you might be surprised at what you find out.
Generation X (born 1961-1981) has taken a lot of grief over the years, but never more than from the “I Hate Gen X” site. It’s time to defend the honor of our generation.
Yesterday I came upon this site titled “I Hate Gen X (and Y)“. The site has pictures and bios of various Gen X’ers who are, in the authors view, despicable:
Many of the pictures are linked to bios that describe the awful things that these generation X’ers have done and how they have ruined society. There is also a page on the voting history of Generation X (and quite a bit of Generation Y). Much of the thesis of the site is that X’ers are bad citizens because they don’t turn out to vote in high numbers:
Perhaps the site is tongue-in-cheek (it is pretty funny, really), but I need readers help in coming up with content as a rebuttal to this:
The site has this image and asks the question: Name one great Generation X’er.
So this is where I need your help. Can you name great examples under the categories listed above? Generation X is defined as anyone born between 1961-1981. So that includes Barack Obama right off the bat, but we need more, many more. Jeff Gordinier took a shot with his book, “X Saves the World“, which I highly recommend, but I think a comprehensive list would be powerful.
C’mon Gen X’ers, do us proud!
While you are at it, pass this post around to other Gen X’ers you know on Twitter and Facebook
I will amend this post with the top candidates for each category:
Disclaimer: I like Neil Howe’s work and have read most of his books. I have not read Bauerlein’s but probably will soon.
This video is very short, but I don’t find Mark’s argument compelling. For example, he says:
“Teen to teen contact is crowding out the voices of teachers, parents, ministers and other mentors in in their lives”.
Sounds like the Boomers (born 1943-1960) are getting some payback on this one. They certainly did not listen to any of their teachers, parents, ministers or other mentors in their youth. They had a similar “echo chamber” amongst their peers, and they used it to preach to each other and then tear down the society built by the GI Generation (born 1901-1924). But unlike the Boomers, this is a generation of people who DO more than they SAY and want to build up something new rather than tear something down.
“They don’t read books” and “In 1982, 18-24 year-olds formed the most avid readers in our country. In 2002 they became the least active reading group”
Equating reading books with intelligence is, well, an out-dated concept. I am Gen X and I read a ton, but I have lots of VERY smart peers and friends who don’t read much. Should we really judge intelligence by the size of a person’s bookshelf? Is complex thought only possible after reading a book?
Although I personally place high value on reading, it is worth noting that it is a very passive activity. Sure, some might say you use your imagination when reading, but in comparison to having an active conversation or debate with another person it is pretty passive. Should we judge those conversations harshly because they happen online instead of face-to-face?
It is particularly ironic that Baurelein subtitled his book, “Don’t trust anyone under 30”. It is a reference back to the 60’s statement “Don’t trust anyone over 30“. The message here from a Boomer is that we shouldn’t trust anyone older than a Boomer, and probably should discount anyone younger than a Boomer as well!
Bauerlein’s whole argument seems to be very, “Kids today! They have no respect for their elders”. It’s a tired argument that does not apply. It applied to Gen X (born 1961-1981) and Boomers(born 1943-1960), but not to Millennials. Time to get past that myth. Listen Howe’s brief statement. It has a LOT better facts backing it and paints a much clearer picture of what this generation is about.
Note: I can see the argument that the “multi-tasking” that afflicts most people today (of almost all ages) is destrimental to coherent thought processes, but doesn’t make Millennials stupid as a generation. I may do a future post on this distraction/multi-tasking topic in the future.
A review of the new book from William Strauss and Neil Howe, “Millennials and K–12 Schools: Educational Strategies for a New Generation” about how to deal with the shift in generations in K-12 education.
A couple months back I purchased the book “Millennials and K–12 Schools: Educational Strategies for a New Generation” by Neil Howe and William Strauss. It was part of my research on generations, but I also was motivated because of issues I was seeing at our kids’ school. I found the book to be a really enjoyable and informative read, and it is currently making the rounds amongst the teachers and administrators at the school. I have put together a short video that serves as a preview/review of the book. It will give you an idea of the concepts in the book and, perhaps, an understanding of why this research is so valuable.
Well fellow X’ers, I think midlife has truly arrived for most of us. We are becoming crotchety and complaining about “those whippersnapper kids!”. Don’t believe me? Check out this (very funny) video of comedian Louis CK on Conan last year:
If you are struggling to understand the effects of generations on our society, this basic primer will give you a grounding for further research. Delivered in a fast-paced 10 minute video that explains each of the living generations and where they are headed
You have heard of Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and perhaps even the Silent and GI Generations. But do you know how they are fundamentally different from each other? Each holds specific values, particularly around what they believe is an ideal society. This 10 minute video is a basic primer on the current living generations and how to understand their cycles.
The Millennial generation is rebelling from it’s parents and society, just like every generation before. But the form this rebellion takes is unique and has not been seen in over 85 years. Learn how the cycle of generations predicts what will come next in our society
In this webinar posted on Slideshare, I discuss how the Millennial generation is rejecting and rebelling against the values and ideals of it’s elders. This will shape our society in surprising ways in the next 15 years. Watch the slideshow with audio below to learn more:
Last night I watched an Indie Film called “Pope Dreams” and I felt the generational themes were strong enough to mention here. It is a coming of age film about a Millennial (born 1982-2005) who is caught between the expectations of his parents and his own desire to do something good, and important, in the world. His parents are probably Boomers (according to their stated ages). There are many aspects of the film that fit with generational archetypes (or perhaps stereotypes). For example, there is a clear differentiation between the “Haves” and “Have Nots” in the relationship between the protagonist, Andy, and Brady, the “Abercrombie” girl he has a crush on. The sense of duty that Andy feels towards his friends and parents is also a typical Millennial character. Andy is pressured, sheltered, team-oriented, conventional and feels he is special and should achieve something in life.
The acting in the film is very good, Phillip Vaden in particular, and it is well composed overall. In many ways this film feels like it captures the spirit of this new Hero generation as the John Hughes films caught the spirit of the Gen X generation that came before them. The fact that it stars Millennial-aged actors ads to its authenticity. Put it on your Netflix list and let me know what you think.
Want to know how to really upset parents of Millennials? Ask Al Gore, who managed to do just that by suggesting that teenagers not listen to their parents.
This video from Glenn Beck’s show, which was recorded by one of the kids at the conference, and her father (probably a Gen X’er) was upset enough to go on the show and talk about it. This has been making the rounds at lots of conservative blogs, many of which are comparing Gore’s statements with indoctrination of Nazi youth. As a die-hard liberal, I don’t buy the politics here, but I think the generational aspects are fascinating.
It’s not surprising that a Boomer (Gore) would suggest that kids rebel against their parents. That was the approach of the entire generation – knock down the institutions built by their parents (the GI Generation). But he made a HUGE mistake in thinking that this generation of kids (Millennials) and their parents (Gen-X and some Boomers) would react well to trying to divide them. Gore could definitely use some generational coaching.
This is very much part of the battle that will unfold over the next 10 to 15 years as various Boomers try to convince the Millennials to follow their particular ideology. Asking them to rebel against their parents is unlikely to work (as the Millennials are generally very close to their parents), but that won’t stop Boomers from trying. The reaction of the Gen X parent is very typical as we tend to be a fairly over-protective bunch and don’t want representatives of institutions telling us how to parent.
How could Gore have changed his approach to make it more likely to be heard? He could have appealed to the kids sense of purpose and tendency to want to work together. By saying something like, “We are all counting on you, the young people, to help change the world for the better. Your parents are counting on you. I am counting on you. The problems are big, but if we work together we will overcome them. And all of you will be a big part of that success.” By putting a positive message and tying their parents into the equation, he could have really gotten them on board. But, instead, he’s being accused of being an evil Nazi overlord.