Stop judging, and labelling, they say.
The oldies are on the other side, anxious about how to express what they feel, uncertain about how best to communicate their thoughts. It seems that both the young and old are feeling judged and labelled.
There are such strong different generational ideas about everything now.
Subsequently grandparents and parents are often confused about how they should phrase their thoughts.
Are my thoughts politically incorrect? Is the way I feel controversial in any way?
There have always been conflicting opinions between the young and the old. There’s nothing new there.
Twilight generations have for millennia bemoaned the disintegration of society’s moral fibre, what with all that provocative dancing and evocative dressing.
The thing is, there is a feeling now that we are not allowed to talk about the divergence in generational thought. At least previous generations could have a good whinge. And complain they did.
Now Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers are asking themselves if they should speak or not. Will their feelings inspire rage and disgust? Will what they consider a completely normal observation be received with fury and indignation. Indeed, they think, should I open my mouth at all?
To understand where the older generation is coming from let’s consider this:
· The Greatest Generation (GI Generation): Born 1901–1924.
· The Silent Generation: Born 1928–1945.
· Baby Boom Generation: Born 1946–1964.
· Generation X: Born 1965–1980.
· Millennial Generation: Born 1981–1996.
· Generation Z or iGen: Born 1997–2010.
June Dally-Watkins was born between the Greatest and the Silent Generations in 1925. She was great, but she was never silent. She garnered quite a list of titles throughout her 92-year life advocating the benefits of good manners.
By the time she died in 2020 it’s fair to say she had lost patience with much of the world’s manners. Or lack of it. Cell phones being her biggest pet hate, extremely short shorts on girls coming in a close second.
Many of her Silent and Greatest Generation feelings were inherited by Baby Boomers and Gen X’es. They were brought up with certain approaches and principles of behaviour. But their innate attitudes don’t mean Baby Boomers and Gen X’es don’t want to learn alongside the Millennials and iGens.
They want to understand what the Millennials and iGens are banging on about.
The push back against the older generation on many, many levels is justified. But please consider that Millennials and iGens are speaking with words Baby Boomers and Gen X’es have never heard or considered.
A new vocabulary.
Words like Assigned gender, Cisgender, femme, and gender dysphoria are new for older generations. When Baby Boomers and Gen X’es were born, you were either gay or straight. You can see where we are going here.
Change is hard. And change gets harder the older you are, when your ideas are fixed into place through age.
So how do we reach across the generational years and talk to each other? With respect? And consideration? How do we avoid confrontations at school, in public, in the office, or at home with our families?
At June Dally-Watkins we are trying to find a middle ground.
A place in which we understand where someone is coming from. We thrive on hearing young people’s ideas. It’s an honour to be exposed to their brand-new way of thinking.
How can we incorporate their thinking into ours? At the same time, how can we communicate our vast life experience? If all generations are listening, we can all grow.
It’s about listening with patience and understanding.
Each generation must keep their emotions in check. No blaming and exasperation. We don’t have to ‘fix’ or ‘save’ anyone. We can explain our point of view, listen, and show respect for everyone’s opinions and backgrounds.
Respecting the old world of etiquette is not a battle, or a war. We have so much to learn from each other. Every generation has much to impart. We are all role models. We are all mentors.
Incorporating old world etiquette into new world thinking is a tricky business. But it’s our business and we’d like to share it with you. Make sure you flick over to our previous blogs for more thoughts on manners in today’s world.