Learnings From Each Generation

Walking round town today I think I got to see the best and the worst of the younger generation.  This is coming from a 32 year old who still likes Lego and computer games.  Lego computer games are A-MAZE-ING!

When I think about the generation below me, I think of hoodies and kids hanging out on street corners.  As I was walking along the street with a chocolate s’mores frapuccino (the marshmallow cream is one of the best things ever!) I could hear an argument.  I guess “argument” means it was two people, but in reality it was a youth in a black hoodie (hood up), black tracksuit bottoms, black trainers and a JD Sports back over his back shouting “f*ck off” repeatedly while walking across a busy road causing the traffic to stop for him.

Following it at considerable distance was another youth wearing a grey hoodie (hood up), black tracksuit bottoms and black trainers while carrying the remainder of a pint of lager in a glass.  This was 14.30 in the afternoon.

A bit further along the street there were members of the school age generation, some wearing uniforms having just left school and another group outside the corner shop wearing North Face jackets, black tracksuit bottoms and black trainers.  The uniform reminded me of yesterday’s post speaking about schools trying to promote diversity, and yet many of those in attendance simply want to blend in and all look and act the same.

Of course, each generation has its stereotype.  Sometimes people break the stereotype positively.  I know some incredibly childish people in their twenties and thirties and, while some people I’m sure would level that accusation at me (they’re probably right in a lot of instances!) some don’t realise and think that they’re more grown up than they actually are.

I think of a stereotype of the younger generation as being the ones who do street tagging.  Not proper graffiti or art… just drawing random squiggles on walls.  I picture now of them doing this:


It reads “I would rather be let down than be a let down” and was done by someone called “Mystery”.  I first saw this years ago after a trip to dentist.  For not crying as she poked me with sharp metallic objects I rewarded myself with two Lego Simpsons mini figures.  What struck me about the writing was the paradox in a seemingly childish act of vandalism which yet so accurately represents a phrase that I, who considers myself part of an older generation, inadvertently live by.

It got me thinking about what makes us feel like we’re grown up.  I think the empathy implication of Mystery’s musings is what I see as being a grown up phenomenon in that responsibility for other people’s feelings becomes more apparent the older one gets.  Yet I know people who think that it’s far more grown up to be able to make decisions for the benefit of themselves that hurt others.  As always, there is probably a sweet spot somewhere in the middle.

What makes us feel childish? As much as I may ridicule my childish hobbies and drinks choices, is there not something to be said for maintaining the wonder and imagination of our younger years before we got bogged down with having to pay bills?

What is it that you think separates older generations from the youth of today?  If you class yourself as part of modern youth, what is it that you think you can learn from those sometimes struggling to adult properly!?

People of a nation, lost in conversation,
Following the sidestep, find out what the kids know.
Generation freakshow, let’s go!
Find new inspiration, without hesitation,
Following the sidestep, time for celebration.
No more isolation, let’s go!

Generation Freakshow by Feeder

Comments 2

  1. Brandy Ahmeli

    Thank you for writing this post. So many times I look at the younger generation (I am around your age) and wonder, “what is happening?” You posed a question like that at the end of your post, so I thought I’d share my view. I think today’s younger generation is acting in a way that is screaming out for help/love/acceptance (yet those words are not said). I am an urban school teacher, so the scene you described is one very common to my life. I believe the lack of community is our current society is creating this shift. When I was young, people on the block would tell your mother if you were acting up. And from my mom’s generation, the elder would come whoop your butt if you were acting up in the neighborhood and by then time you got home, you got another whooping. Now, I’m not saying kids need this form of punishment – I’m also not disagreeing with it – but I do think that the root of it comes down to lack of family and lack of community. People are becoming isolated and only worried about themselves. Sadly, I think this will be a fatal blow to society as a whole. What are your thoughts?

    • Hey Brandy, I think I would tend to agree, but I don’t have your experience. I knew that if I acted up as a kid I’d be punished and that was a deterrent. Maybe that doesn’t happen anymore.

      I wrote a post a few months ago (http://wp.me/p4jLZ5-Fd) in which I actually blamed the problem on Taylor Swift! Of course, it’s not Taylor’s fault, but the attitude of “haters gonna hate” does exist and it contributes to a certain way of thinking. I think far too many people now look out just for themselves and if someone doesn’t like us or our actions, then so be it. It means that people are growing increasingly narcissistic and, at best, think that the most important thing is for them to be OK and, at worst, demonstrate a complete lack of empathy or compassion towards anyone else.

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