As an aside, I’ve never identified myself with any specific ‘generation’. I was born in 1961 (the only year for the next 4,048 that you can read upside down and still see the same number). That makes me a Baby Boomer. My sister was born 12 years later and she’s from another planet. Her thought process and values are significantly different from mine. She grew up with toys that talked, beeped, and lit up with various colors while I grew up with ‘forts’ built from discarded pallets, worn sheets, and piles of dirt found in an empty urban lot down the block.
Watching her grow up, I didn’t think we were that different. But, as adults, we are worlds apart. Now she has 4 children under 13 years of age. I watched as these wonderful new humans stood transfixed in front of a television for the first time, trying to make sense of the visual display. “What was this?” I could read in their eyes. I have worried about how the prevalence of instant digital photography will affect their memory of their childhood. With thousands of photographs at their disposal, will those pictures add to or subtract from their mental faculties as they age? I have to rely on things that are now foggy and blurred, like when MLK was shot. There is no photo to remind me of so many moments. My sister’s children will have had their lives recorded for them and stored in a cloud.
I used to think that a generation was about 20 years in length. Now, with technological ‘advancement’ (that word is used with hesitation) I think it’s closer to 10 or even less. I don’t know what Generation X or Y or Z is nor do I know what a Millennial is. Everyone in my world is either younger or older, good or bad, wise or stupid, etc. and all the shades of gray in between. Is this tendency to cling to a generational label a way of making sense of a world that is changing too rapidly? Will Jon’s brother or sister (if he has one) that is 5 years older or younger feel that they too are in a different generational bucket?
I’m glad that Generation Z or whatever it wants to call itself has people like Jon who express wonder at the world and are able to consider that so much is yet learnable. My hope is that technology doesn’t rob them (and the older remaining generations) of that ability and that we can use technology to accomplish great things, one of which should definitely be to insure that at no point in the near or distant future we never, ever, ever lose our humanity. Let’s not turn people into color copies, in other words.
Michael House is the SAP Business One Crystal Report® Developer at MWA Intelligence, Inc.