Are you a Traditionalist? Baby Boomer? Millennial? Or, perhaps a Gen X-er or Gen Z-er?
Whatever your generation, you likely possess many of the same characteristics of those born during the same time period as you. That is because each generation is defined by significant events. Events that shape you, your values, and your beliefs. Consider Pearl Harbor, the Vietnam War, and 9/11.
The characteristics and events of one generation have a ripple effect on the next. As such, it’s important to bridge the gap between generations. When we seek to understand the “age gap” and discover the core values of others, our ability to relate meaningfully increases. We begin to appreciate the concerns and issues of each era.
For example, the next time you are talking to a Traditionalist (born between 1922-1946) remember that they have been impacted by the Depression Era, World War 1 and World War 2. Their word is their bond, they are not wasteful, and they are often defined by their careers. If you bump into a Baby Boomer (1946-1964) don’t forget that they have organized their lives around work. And work around life. They grew up in a time of economic prosperity and they strive for challenge. Know any Gen X-ers (1965-1979)? They are resourceful and individualistic, perhaps because they are some of our first latch-key kids. And, of course, there are those Millennials (1978-1995). Are you a Millennial? If so, you are likely all about interpersonal communication. Super-savvy, you don’t take blind orders and you have high expectations. Then there are those kids who grew up with iPods and texting. Gen Z-ers. If you are a Gen Z-er, you consume information rapidly and are used to instant action and satisfaction.
So, how do we bridge the gap between generations?
In spite of the diversity? By recognizing what we do share. After all, no matter our age, we all share some similar things. Hopes. Dreams. Values. It’s when we begin to seek out and see our similarities that our commonalities become a bridge of relating and acceptance.