Closing in on 50 we realize that being at the tail end of the baby boomer generation put us in a unique gray area between two very different groups. Most of us did not feel the wrath of the depression although our parents certainly did; they seemed to shield us from those horrifying times memories.
Yes we all heard the stories from our grand parents about food lines and pot luck dinners. I heard a story about people stealing the paper off of apples in the market to use as toilet paper. I heard about endless dinners of potato soup and leaks and I heard about how my grand mother killed my mother’s pet chicken for dinner one night. She never ate chicken again.
We came from modest middle class families wearing hand-me-down clothes and playing with passed down toys. But we had more than our parents did when they were children.
So what was our contribution, our obligation to the next generation?
We were taught that a penny saved is a penny earned. We were taught not to buy anything unless we had the cash to pay for it. We were also taught to help people less fortunate then ourselves.
The shield our parents held protecting us from the harsh realities of the depression dulled our sensibilities toward the possibility it may happen again. Did we do our job teaching the next generations the lessons from the past? Explaining to generation X and Y that hard work is the only way to succeed. Feeling good about your accomplishments is really the reward not your ability to put $1300 down on a $60k vehicle with a payment of $500 a month. To feel good about the fact no one gave you a free pass because of your hard work. Or did we sit back and let them create their own path? Hoping that they would find an easier way, a faster way to reach their goals and protect us in our old age.
We did sit back, and we gave them the reins too early. We didn’t spend enough time telling them, warning them about what could happen.
Credit Cards, Equity loans and leasing cars became the norm. By the end of the century most families were spending 1/3 more per month than their income. People were living on borrowed time and we all watched it happen.
What should my Generation do? We need to be heard, we need to take back the reins. We can’t spend or borrow our way out of this mess. There has to be a correction, a re-set on how we all live.
This is what my generation has to offer, only if we’re giving the opportunity. But it may be too late.


Stephanie Faris November 17, 2009 at 1:40 PM  

I'm almost 40 so I'm one of Generation X. I'm not sure how my generation is perceived at this point. I don't think we're, as a whole, as successful and driven as previous generations have been.

Autore November 17, 2009 at 2:13 PM  

My generation did not do a good job teaching your generation. We were hoping Gen X and Y would re-invent the wheel. It's not the lack of drive it's the direction that screwed everything up. A 30 something friend told me working hard is for fools-working smart and using other people's money is the way to go. Discipline, honesty, integrity and hard work will always be the recipe for success.