Did you know you belong to a generational prison? Experts have tracked the characteristics of each generation, and sometimes assigned a letter of the alphabet to each one. The ones we live with now are Boomers, and then generations X, Y, and Z. Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, and they are very numerous, in western countries. X is from 1965 to 1981; Y is the Millennials, also known as the me-me-me generation, from 1982 to 1994; and Z from 1995 to 2010.
Baby Boomers generally annoy Millennials, or so we are told, and there is a popular insult “OK Boomer.”
There are some problems with this description; we are each one person and not a generation. We can make our own choices about life, and many people don’t fit the profile. Some people are poor, even homeless, and many are immigrants from places where the dynamics are different.
When we make one group all the same, we create a stereotype and that produces a straw man argument. The Straw Man is ‘You people are all like that, and you should apologize!’ That is common these days, and it is always wrong. We can’t apologize for someone who was invented and never really existed, and we can’t defend that straw person.
There is also some truth here. Baby Boomers and Millennials really are a thing, and there is some friction. A generation that lived together and had the same experiences will have a common way of living, like a subculture. I remember phones with dials, a life with no Internet, and a time when color TVs were an exotic luxury; each generation has its own reality.
I also remember my Baby Boomer friends in my generation, and it was clear to me that I didn’t want into that club. Some people around me seemed selfish and immoral. I was not better than my friends in high school, but I looked forward to my adult life, and I could not see the good life that I wanted. What the statistics about Boomers don’t tell us is that many of us have dropped out, maybe most of us by now. At least two of my old classmates have committed suicide, and when I remember them, any problems in my life seems very small. They fell out of our generation. Many others dropped out.
When I was around sixteen years old, I had a chemistry class in high school. We all found our buddies and sat near them every day, in that class I had two other boys near me. One boy in our trio was cooler than the other two, and he was not me. He was the one who had several girlfriends when the rest of us could hardly talk to girls. He was a walking and talking star, in high school.
One day, the third guy said he had something to tell us. We listened carefully while he explained how he had gone to a meeting and someone told him about Jesus. He told us how he made a decision and now he was going to follow Jesus for the rest of his life.
I was shocked because I was from a religious family, but I was still deciding what to be in my adult life, so I said nothing. Our cool friend knew exactly what to do; he held a window blind cord, with a hard plastic knob on the end, and beat our friend hard, many times. I now know that I saw a new Christian being persecuted. The message was clear from the cool kid; following Jesus was not a cool choice, and the Christian ‘loser’ was out of his circle.
That was one experience that helped me to decide about Jesus a few months later. I had seen the dark side of that cool crowd. For many of us, becoming a follower of Jesus meant we lost our privileged place in our Baby Boomer generation. I never took a beating, like my chemistry friend, but I lost some cool friends.
I am not a martyr, but my friend was really persecuted in that chemistry class. Now, when I hear criticism of my generation, the Boomers, I know prejudice against a whole generation is wrong, but I also know some criticism is deserved. Many of us dropped out and left the “God of this world” because we didn’t want those values in our lives. We learned this truth “You will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 4:29)
It shouldn’t surprise me now, that many in my generation are trying to find God. They are making the same decisions that a few of us made long ago. A new trend is Baby Boomers finding religion. Many of these people near retirement age are going to places where they might find God. That is like dropping out of the cool crowd, which some of us did years ago.
READ: Are baby boomers returning to religion?
In all of our generations, I hope we are able to find peace with God:
He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us. (Acts 17:26-27)