I received a trade journal in the fall that sat on the corner of my desk. Ok, well I am not being honest. It sat in the pile of stuff that sat on the corner of my desk. After the first of the year, our administrative assistant told me it was time to “spring clean.” The Fall 2017 issue of the journal, Generations, published by the American Society on Aging had dedicated an entire issue to the study of generations.

We are one of the few industries that I know that work directly with ALL six of the generations living in our world today. Jason Dorsey of the Center for Generational Kinetics defines a generation as “Predictability by scenario.” Peter Whitehouse *, president of Intergenerational Schools International states “trends associated with people who were born around the same time and place in history have been the basis for generation identification.”

According to the experts the generation breakdown is as follows:

  • The GI or Greatest Generation:  born from 1900-1924 AGE: 118-94

  • The Silent Generation: born from 1925-1945 AGE: 93-73

  • The Baby Boomer Generation: born from 1946-1964 AGE: 72-54

  • The Gen X generation: born from 1965-1980 AGE: 53-38

  • The Gen Y, Millennial or Echo Boomer Generation: born from 1981-1995 AGE: 39-23

  • The Gen Z, iGen, Plurals, Post Millennial or Homeland Generation: born from 1996-now AGE: 22 and below

My husband and I are boomers while our kids are split, the oldest is a Gen X, the younger is Gen Y. All our grandkids are iGen. Though our kids were raised with the same over all parenting style, in the same home, neighborhood and school system they are very different.  For example, my older son Aaron prefers to talk on the telephone, while our Gen Y Seth prefers texting. Now our grandkids expect FACETIME. In my house, they see the land line phone sitting in the cradle but don’t know how to use it, and laugh out loud when they see a rotary dial phone that we keep for emergencies (it can plug directly into our telephone line in the event of a power outage, my husband was in the Civil Air Patrol!) I was talking to them recently and said something about a telephone booth and they had a hard time wrapping their minds around the fact that there used to be telephones that you put money in, “like a bank Grandma?” well…yeah sort of.

The reason I find the study of generations so interesting is because we have to continue to find common ground that join us here at Pines Village and in society as a whole. I have so much to learn from those who were born before me and those who were born after.  Most conversations about generations surround differences; yet to move us to the future, we have to unlock the strengths of each generation as we help one another to live in today’s fast paced world.

To illustrate, in October, I got a new car. It offered hands free telephone service by syncing with my cell phone.  My cell phone was 4 years old. It worked fine, but in order to activate this new feature, I needed a newer, more updated phone. So I got a new one. Despite reading the directions, I could not sync them. I tried for several weeks.  On the other hand, my 9 year old granddaughter had watched her father complete a similar task on his car. When I told her my problem, bam, just like that, she understood how it worked and we were calling her father, FROM MY STEERING WHEEL!  

I rest my case.

*From diversity to intergenerativity : Addressing the mystery and opportunities of Generation X. / Whitehouse, Peter J.; Flippin, Candace Steele. In: Generations, Vol. 41, No. 3, 01.09.2017, p. 6-11.