They’re not so different, the world is different

September 13, 2007 at 7:42 am 6 comments

The more I read about ‘Generational Differences’ – especially the different labels we attach to those born in different – and when you think of it – incredibly narrow time periods – the more it’s all beginning to sound more like Demographical Astrology than anything else. In short. Nonsense.

There is nothing significantly different between today’s generations when we compare our situation to that of any time period in history. (Please take note of my emphasis on the word ‘significantly’.)

I know that places me in contradiction with some very prestigious names and a large number of people, so be it, but this issue of ‘generational differences’ has been going on a long long time. It’s not new, and it’s certainly not unique to our times.

When I was younger I took great delight in a small collection of quotes – I don’t hear them raised when discussing ‘generational differences’ – perhaps they’ve fallen from our collective consciousness? That would be a pity – it seems we don’t learn too much from history. I think I’ve heard that stated before somewhere, or maybe I was dreaming.

Here for posterity one more time…

The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority, they show disrespect to their elders…. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and are tyrants over their teachers.

Attributed to Socrates… or possibly Plato depending on where you find it mentioned.
When??? about 6,000 years ago give or take a few long weekends.

The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint… As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress.

Peter the Hermit, AD 1274

I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words… When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise [smart ass] and impatient of restraint

Hesiod, 8th century BC

Some of these read as if they had been written by someone commenting on GenXers or the new cadre of ‘Millenials.’ (Nice marketing buzz words… aren’t they?)

Here are some things which I think are worthwhile factoring into the conversation.

1) The values of youth are never the values of the mature.

The world view of a 20 something, will always (thank the heavens)
be different from the world view of a 50 year old.
It was ever so. It will be forever so.
To think it should be different is to complain about water being wet.

2) The mature seem to forget how they behaved when they were young.

My son is 20 something… he’s getting serious with a young lady…
The possibility of marriage is in the air.
My Wife: “No that won’t happen… he’s too young”
Me… “What age did we get married? 21 if I remember correctly…”
My Darling wife: “That was different!”
Me… heads quietly back to reading my book.

3) What’s happening in the world today, is different from what was happening in the world yesterday.

Of course that’s going to affect your/our/their world view.
It’s not so much that ‘younger generations are different’,
It’s that ‘They are responding AS WE WOULD HAVE to the world of today which is different from the world 30 years ago’.
In other words, ‘they’ are not ‘different’ — the world is different.

Frankly, I think today’s younger generations are as lazy and as industrious, as foolish and as wise, as loyal and as fickle, as technically inept and adept, as dedicated and as carefree as any other generation that’s ever been born – except that they have labels pinned to them more often. And that is our doing… not theirs.

This notion of lumping whole swaths of people into ill-defined categories by year of birth is abhorrent. Nor is it that useful. Regardless of the label attached to you, as a good manager, I must – if I’m to succeed – manage you as an individual.

Sorry… I seem to be up on that soap box again.
I’ll get down now… besides… my hot cocoa is ready – and it’s time for my nap.


Entry filed under: Leaders, Leadership, Life, Management, Managing.

First? Burn your Power Point Flying Car? Not for us. Ever.

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. charlesleonhart  |  September 13, 2007 at 8:15 am

    i represent the young generation…and i agree with your opinion ^^.

  • 2. Dermot Casey  |  September 14, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    Brilliant. True. And make you less of an old fart than those decrying the differences. Human nature changes slower than the environment to which it responds as you so rightly point out.


  • 3. Astrology eleventh hour in meaning at  |  September 24, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    […] Theyre not so different, the world is differentThe more I read about Generational Differences – especially the different labels we attach to those born in different – and when you think of it – incredibly narrow time periods – the more its all beginning to sound more like Demographical. […]

  • […] found a few rather wonderful webpages (here, here and here) citing several of these quotations as proof that anyone who complains about the […]

  • 5. | Intelligent Vote  |  July 23, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    […] people today, and how hard it was for the generation that preceded them. At least since the time of Aristotle, there have been rants against the unruly youth who don’t recognize how good they have it. […]

    • 6. S. Nomgca  |  May 26, 2017 at 9:15 am

      firstly, nothing can discipline a child rather than punishment as the parent not as the buller. Goverment laws need to be challenged and fixing the world in the Name of Hervenly father amen.


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