Different generations have (mostly) common threads

I have heard others say, “That’s a generational thing,” or “They’re from another generation.” At various meetings, I’ve heard it said, “We need to figure out how to keep our millennials here.”

A “generation” is described as being all the people born and living in the same time period, viewed collectively. They are further described as social groups who share similar cultural traits, values and preferences.

There are six living generations in the United States. They are: the GI Generation (1901-1926); Mature/Silents (1927-1945); Baby Boomers (1946-1964); Generation X (1965-1980); Generation Y/Millennials (1981-2000); and Generation Z/Boomlets (born after 2001).

Each generation has traits and characteristics. Of course, they are determined by averages, and not all of the traits hold true for everyone born during that period of time.

My hubby and I were both born in the Mature/Silent generation. We both share many of the traits/characteristics identified with this generation.

“Marriage is for life; divorce and having children out of wedlock were not acceptable.” My hubby and I have been married 55 years.

“In grade school, the gravest teacher complaints were about passing notes and chewing gum in class.” That is true. Both teachers and parents would not tolerate misbehaving in school. We all knew we would be in big trouble when we got home if we misbehaved.

“Men pledged loyalty to the corporation; once you got a job, you generally kept it for life.” My hubby was hired by the Shawano Paper Mill, and he worked there for 45 years.

“They are avid readers, especially newspapers.” Hubby and I enjoy sitting down with a cup of coffee and a newspaper. We much prefer an actual newspaper as opposed to reading news online.

“Went through their formative years during an era of suffocating conformity, but also during the postwar happiness: Peace, jobs, television, rock ‘n roll, and cars.” I sure do remember Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, rock ‘n roll and our first black-and-white television.

“Korean and Vietnam War generation.” One of the saddest occurrences of my generation, the failure to give our soldiers the thanks, love and respect they so deserved.

“The Big-Band/Swing music generation.” My hubby and I were born during the end of this generation, so we weren’t really into the big bands as much as we were into the rock ‘n roll era.

“The richest, most free-spending retirees in history.” That may be true for our generation, but my hubby and I are far from rich.

“Disciplined, self-sacrificing and cautious.” My hubby fits these traits better than I do. I wish I was more disciplined. He routinely works out, watches his sugar intake, goes to bed at a reasonable hour and plans things out before he does them … me, not so much!

I was curious to learn the traits and characteristics of the Millennials (born between 1981-2000) the generation we hear so much about. Here are some of the identified traits:

They schedule everything.

They prefer to work in teams.

With unlimited access to information, they tend to be assertive with strong views.

They envision the world as a 24/7 place, and they want fast and immediate processing.

They have been told over and over again that they are special; and they expect the world to treat them that way.

They do not live to work; they prefer a more relaxed work environment with a lot of hand-holding and accolades.

They respect authority.

They feel enormous academic pressure.

They prefer digital literacy as they grew up in a digital environment. They have never known a world without computers. They get all their information and most of their socialization from the internet.

It’s quite interesting studying the traits of each generation. You might want to look at yours and see how many are familiar traits of yours.

I was surprised “saving/keeping things” was not mentioned as one of the traits of my generation. In fact, I think it is one thing so many of us from the “older generation” have in common. I believe my hubby still has his old cane fishing poles. Tools, hats, puzzles, jack knives, flashlights … enough to start a store.

I can’t criticize him. Every Christmas, I put all the smaller used gift bags into one large bag. I think I probably have many more bags, bows and boxes than I will have Christmases. I’ve saved Uncle Wiggly books, my kids’ toys, old jewelry and dishes, and that’s just a start.

Although these “saved items” have memories attached to them, I have learned my family does not want them. They don’t like clutter and do not have a similar appreciation of things from the past. Now is the hard part. How do I get rid of all these items no one wants? Yes, generations sure do differ!

Question: Who owned Ye Olde Print Shoppe, and when was it established?

Clothesline Conversation Answer: John Bastar was the owner and founder. It was established July 15, 1972.

Lorna Marquardt is a former Shawano mayor.