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Are the Baby Boomers Role Models?

Written by Alex Koroknay-Palicz Dec 12, 2005

Very interesting AP article about Baby Boomers yesterday. What’s great is, it picked up on a lot of the themes Mike Males talked about in our interview. Like this quote:

But at times, they also see boomers as a bunch of hypocrites who were challenged to “ask what you can do for your country” and ended up focusing on what was in it for them.

“There’s a disconnect between the younger generation and anyone over 45 or so,” says Steve Rubens, a 29-year-old businessman from Palo Alto, Calif. “Something happened; I don’t know when.

“But they don’t really listen as much as they think they do. They just go with their agenda.”

It’s an agenda that leaves him and other young adults – members of generations known as X and Y – wondering what will be left for them, especially as the cost of living rises, national debt increases, and as the huge population of aging boomers begins to devour Social Security and company pensions.

And:

Young adults also are ready to wrestle away their piece of the pie from boomer politicians, from “helicopter parents” who hover over their adult kids, and even from aging rockers who have yet to give up the stage.

The question is: will boomers let them – and recognize they can’t rule forever?

God, I hope so.

The rest of the article was quite interesting as well. Saying that young people are more conservative than the Baby Boomers, rejecting their excess and yet at the same time rejecting their rampant materialism, which I suppose is another way of rejecting their excess. The Boomers are definitely the “me generation”, as selfish as any we have yet encountered. I’m not going to go as far as Mike Males and say the Baby Boomers are the “rottenest generation in the history of the world.” But I think many of their faults are pointed out by this article.

Many of the comments by the young adults interviewed in the article ring true for me, and seem to be an accurate description of the differences I perceive between myself and folks my parent’s age. Things like youth being more embracing of new careers and ways through life, and Boomers being perhaps fearful, perhaps resentful that we don’t take the traditional steps toward success.

Also, most interesting was the mention of differing views on success altogether. Its a theme I’ve seen rehashed many times, that young people are putting more of an emphasis on family and other priorities, and less on making money. Realizing finally perhaps that the best things in life aren’t things. Of course maybe we’ll all get old and cynical and materialistic like the Boomers as well, but who knows what the future has in store for X’ers and Millennials.

So what youth rights conclusions can we draw from this? For one thing the article is mostly talking about Generation X, and not Millennials who are our main constituency. And no, simply pointing out that our parent’s generation is a bunch of hypocrites isn’t really youth rights related, no matter how satisfying it may be. Generation issues are always fascinating, and definitely linked to the work we do with NYRA. I’m not sure how to make any direct links, but I welcome comments/ideas.

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