Generations

“The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.” — Socrates

Each generation despairs at their children, or perhaps the children of each generation despair at their parents.

When my grandparents were young, horses were still the main form of transportation. My grandmother’s wedding gown was more than a little flapper-like. Jazz was the cutting-edge music that had parents shaking their heads. With World War I, the musical question was, “How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm, after they’ve seen Paree?”

My parents grew up in the depression and prohibition was still in force for their first few years; World War II was raging in Europe as they became teenagers. Big band music and crooners, like Bing Crosby, led to Zoot Suits and predictions of doom.

I grew up in the 1960’s with rock and roll, hippies, “The Summer of Love,” and the Vietnam War. The mantra was, “Never trust anyone over 30.”

My oldest child is 41, my youngest, 16, so I’ve been through the process with one generation, and am still in the midst of the second generation.

The disconnect is the natural order of things as one generation breaks free from their parents and defines itself. Somewhere around age thirty or so, just as Tolkien wrote of Hobbits, individuals tend to come of age.

Samuel Clemens may or may not be responsible for this quote, of which there are various versions. This one is attributed to Victor Steinbok, a highly-regarded researcher. in a Bulletin from the Missouri Department of Agriculture in March of 1916 <Link>

Somthing like Mark Twain. At the age of seventeen Mark says he thought his father the most ignorant man in all the world and just couldn’t stand him about. At the age of twenty-three he found that his father knew a few things and he could put up with him occasionally; at the age of twenty-seven he knew that his father was the smartest man in all the world and he just doted on having him about. There is a bit of psychology in this that is worthy our study.

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