Boomers and Busters

Boomers. In America we have a way of segmenting different generations of people and the Boomers are those who are born roughly between 1945 and 1964. They are the post WWII babies that burst onto the scene in large numbers and shook our society in a number of different ways.

I’m not a sociologist or any other kind of ‘ologist’, so don’t quote me on anythere here, these are just my observations.

Boomers were born into stable homes and communities–they were seen and appreciated. Even if they had rotten parenting, the neighbors, extended family (who lived down the street), schools, churches and others in the community were there to help fill the gaps. They bonded well with mother as babies, for, by and large, mom stayed at home and focused her energies there. Boomers were secure and confident youth who wanted to break out of the confines of their parents’ ‘trappings’ (namely boring, predictable living, that kept women and minorities as sub classes of people) and express themselves.

Well, to their credit, they moved in mighty ways to elevate the status of women and minorities. Oh, and they totally caught the buzz to feed the economy by becoming voluminous consumers and a work-focused entity. Government is their savior, by and large…the 60’s movements (civil rights, women’s rights, Vietnam war, etc) solidified that in their psyche. They seem to think government is the key to change.

I saw a commercial the other day that stated that this is the generation that vowed to never grow up and hasn’t. Peter Pan-ites in the flesh. Staying active is great, don’t get me wrong, I’m not taking issue with that. I take issue with the “never grow up” mindset. In fact, you’ll even find well respected Boomer authors out there (i.e. Deepak Chopra) who say we not only don’t have to age, we don’t have to die! HELLO!!! What is going on???

So, they think they’ll live forever and not have to deal with aging…ok, then. With that firmly planted, I’m going to dare to say that they are stuck in adolescence–for only adolescents can be so naive and actually WANT to live forever. Like adolescents Boomers are unabashedly self centered (the Me Generation). They live according to what feels good and when they get uncomfortable or when things get hard, they leave (i.e. divorce, multiple marriages, co-habitating, bankruptcy, relocating, etc), regardless of the consequences to anyone else. Their appetite for things that pollute is amazing–they ushered in the sexual revolution, the drug culture, validated violence, and used TV, music, print and the media to feed it to their children. Self expression in its darkest forms is evident everywhere now (children can’t even go to the supermarket without being exposed to explicit magazine covers and inappropriate music lyrics overhead–childhood innocence isn’t protected anywhere). They left their babies in the care of others (inauguration of daycare was under their watch) not to make ends meet but to find self fulfillment. I honestly don’t think they are a deliberately evil generation, just a clueless one, one without any self-awareness–they can’t see the bigger picture, can’t see beyond themselves. I’m guessing here, but I’ll bet their psychoanalysis (if they go to a psychologist) probably has most to do with how to fix problems and how to feel good…I also think their delving into Eastern and New Age spirituality has to do with looking for ways to feel good, ways to fix problems. They want to feel good so they can go back outside and play–hang out with their friends.

If you’ve wondered what has happened to the fabric of American society, the unraveling is probably directly related to the fact that the power holders have been people committed to remaining adolescents. Perpetual teenagers running the show for 50 years. Yikes!!

Boomers are noted as the tail end (very tail end) of the Modern Age, they are the apex of the modern mindset–a mindset where rational thinking rules, the left brain reigns. Ego is supreme. Science is king. Hence modern architecture and ‘art’ is very functional, hard-lined and very ugly. Creativity is only useful in as much as it turns a buck and stimulates rational thought.

I know I’m only hitting on the tip of the iceberg here and they are probably a more complex generation than I give them credit for…but now I’m wondering what are the consequences of their living. Well, look around…the Busters (born roughly 1965-1984…”Buster” must be a name given to us by Boomers, we would never name ourselves that) by and large are their children and we’re a broken lot. We grew up on our own without parenting (for our waking hours were spent in daycare, being handed about, and singlehandedly had to learn the rules of the preschool jungle to survive), in splintered families, without a chance to bond or be in a stable environment. We were thrown toys as a concession. I have a feeling we moved a lot too–house to house, daycare to daycare, state to state, school to school, and then many of us had more than one home (due to divorce). Church was considered irrelevant, for Boomers tend to believe that all religions are about the same, and they didn’t want to inflict their children with a certain belief system. Trust is a huge issue for us, who is trustworthy? Not anyone we’ve seen… Who sacrifices for us, makes us feel important? Says our wellbeing is worth suffering for? No one. Who provided a stable, predictable environment that we could explore and discover in? No one. Boomers label us as “the throw away generation”, not because of how they’ve treated us (they can’t see that) but because of how “worthless” they say we are as citizens and employees–we’re considered lazy, self centered, unkempt, unresponsible and careless.

Let it be noted: We move in different ways than Boomers. Since we’re broken and bleeding (even if personally we’re not, collectively we are, we have a collective psyche that influences our worldview), we’re more about finding meaning in life. We’re the inaugurators of the Postmodern Age: we’ve moved to the right side of the brain that is more intuitive, artistic, full of symbolism and ritual. We see deeper realities (many of us experience spiritual reality) and seek meaning and purpose, so that we can live life from the heart (not to self actualize, like our parents). We’re more relationally oriented, and connect on deeper levels than our parents. The people we hang with (probably not our families of origin) we love loyally and would sacrifice for. We’re operating from a lot of pain (I’ll bet generationally we disproportionately suffer from post traumatic stress syndrome) and have learned from our parents’ example that workaholism isn’t the answer, daycare debilitates and that real bonding does matters (quantity time is even more important that quality time). We are a compassionate generation, although, to dull our pain and confusion, we act out on what we know: what has been fed us by our parents’ generation (sex, drugs, alcohol, violence), looking for relief. Being primarily unchurched, we don’t have a working faith viewpoint–we know God exists intuitively, but we don’t have a framework for Him and how He works. We don’t know what to do with the times we encounter Him.

Thankfully, God doesn’t see us as a throw away generation. I believe brokenness leaves a crack for God to enter. Jesus has al
ways moved most quickly toward the broken, those who are in pain and need healing. He sees us and knows we seek meaning. He knows He can be trusted and calls us to trust Him…trust, tough to do, we don’t have a lot of positive trusting experiences…He promises never to leave or forsake us…

I can’t speak for the Boomers, they still seem lost in themselves, by and large. Maybe as they have to care for their dying parents they will mature…of course, nowadays they have developed adult care centers…they may just get by without having to grow up. They better face up, though, to death, for it will knock at their door, no options. Maybe that is when they’ll find the inner life where God is waiting for them…hope so.

It’ll be interesting to see if Busters take care of their aging/dying parents, the parents who abandoned them through divorce, daycare, latchkey living (coming home from school to an empty house), emotional distance and TV babysitting. Parents who’ve remarried or shacked up with another and leave Busters with twice as many households and aging parental sets to care for…will be interesting to see…

So, am I off in La La Land? Let your thoughts be heard–make a comment below.


2 thoughts on “Boomers and Busters

  1. Wow, I was born in ’65 so I just barely made it on to the good team! Now I can conveniently blame my parent’s generation for all my problems – excellent.


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