Within the context of the generational theory, the Baby Boomers are an example of a generation being a social force. Baby Boomers in the early years were called hippies, hippies, hippies, and more hippies with Woodstock (Bennett, 2016), rock-n-roll, antiwar protesting, psychedelia, and cannabis smoking (Moretta, 2017; Poon, 2016). Traditionalists thought their hippie children crazy (Moretta, 2017). The largest generation ever during their time (Clark, 2017), these “long-haired” (Powers, 2012, p. 3) hippies peaked with 75.4 million cohorts, matured, became hard workers, and even coined the phrase workaholics (Migliaccio, 2017; Myers & Sadaghiani, 2010). To better understand the four generational mindsets and the influences in their “similar location” (Mannheim, 1927) in the circle of life, Table 1 provides a snapshot of each 16 generation’s major social events during its dispensation. Sixty-years has taken America from famine with the pangs of the Great Depression 1929 (Baritono, 2017; Timmerman, 2007), to the feast of a thriving democracy (Hein, 2006). From encircling the radio for entertainment (“Radio in the 1920s,” 2019) to flat-screen televisions for entertainment (DuBravac, 2007), there has been an evolution in American society.
Briefly, Table 1 shows the progressive forward movement in society (Allen & Allen, 2007). Unfortunately, with the progression came dynamic unpleasantries (Lewis, 2019). Each generation has experienced the nation being at war, losing loved ones, and ending the battle with wounded veterans (Allen & Allen, 2007). Traditionalists were submitted to trusting the government and being patriotic (Allen & Allen, 2007). Nevertheless, it was the Traditionalists’ children, the Baby Boomer generation, that started the antiwar protesting, which continues to echo through Gen X and the Millennial cohorts (Allen & Allen, 2007). Another visible change over the dispensations is the family unit. A difference for each generation, the family unit changed drastically, and society at large seems to be paying the price for it. For example, the family unit went from having the mother home, and children secure to increasing divorce rates, single-parent households, and latchkey kids (Allen & Allen, 2007; Boland & Simmonds, 1996). With each phase of America’s progression, children have become more independent earlier and more vulnerable (Lewis, 2019; Silva & Capellan, 2019; Tamkins, 2004). The vulnerability of children can be seen in the rise of teen pregnancy (Tamkins, 2004), teen suicides (Lewis, 2019), and the surge of mass school shootings (Baird, Roellke, & Zeifman, 2017; Brown & Goodin, 2018; Katsiyannis, 2018; Silva & Capellan, 2019). Traditionalists did not grow up in the era of mass school shootings that started with the 1999 Columbine High School massacre (Walsh, 2018).
On the other side of that same coin, Millennials cannot relate to going without daily provisions to the degree that some families did in the Great Depression of 1929 (Baritono, 2017). With a 60-year generational span present in the workplace, it is plausible how generations can naturally clash or seem so different from the others (Costanza, D., & Finkelstein, 2015). Each generation views the same world through different levels of maturity and depths of experience (Mannheim, 1927). Having triumphs and tragedies on their generational resumes with varying vices and virtues in their pathology (Ryder, 1965), the four generations can look at the same event or phenomenon and summarize it in four different ways (Mannheim, 1927). Does having a different perspective make one generation’s perspective wrong or another generation’s perspective entirely right? Or do the generations collectively bring invaluable perspectives to the table that completes the circle of life together?
Hedgspeth, S. (2019). Millennials: Understanding the challenges to transferring tacit knowledge, Northcentral University. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. https://search.proquest.com/openview/1cc22496a2abbd94e5102761eb5a9425/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y