Have you ever considered how each generation stands apart from others based on its age and unique experiences?
Think about it for a moment. What has major political, social, or pop-culture movement impacted your life? What experience do you share with those in your peer group? Was it the day JFK was shot? Or when the Challenger crashed? Do you remember OJ Simpson’s highway chase? Or seeing the news report as 9/11 was unfolding?
These events, traumatic as some of them may be, shaped your life and bond you with others in your generation.
Maybe it’s not so much a national event that depicts your generational experience but rather the social norms and entertainment that marked your early adulthood. Do you remember the first rotary phone or first portable phone? How about a black-and-white television compared to a flat screen TV? What about when gas was less than a $1 a gallon and milk was no more than $2? The world around us is ever-changing, along with social norms, technology, and life-altering events.
While we can’t help but be shaped by what we’ve experienced, those differences sometimes cause divides between us instead of bringing us together.
In addition to our own experiences, we’re also under the influence of the generation that comes before us. Our parents, teachers, coaches, and pastors all speak their values into our lives. Understanding these values, which are a by-product of experiences, can actually lead to healthier relationships through removing the barriers for connection.
When we understand each other, we’ll be more likely to reach toward one another.
So what would it look like to really understand the experiences we each come from and how our values shape the way we choose to do life?
Let’s unpack the answer to that question with a two-part series, Understanding Generational Differences.
Grab the downloadable spreadsheet for context as you seek to understand our generational differences.