This article has an important message for the baby boomer generation.
By now, you’ve surely heard the phrase that’s sweeping the nation: “OK, boomer.”
Chances are likely that it offended you.
After all, absolutely nobody likes to be stereotyped based on their generation, and yet here we are.
Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, are characterized as lazy, selfish “snowflakes” who expect a “participation trophy”even when they fail.
Those born between 1997 and 2010 are considered to be Generation Z.
They are labeled as being obsessed with technology, dependent on their smartphones, and even more self-centered than millennials.
When you label tens, if not hundreds of millions of people based on their generation, you can’t expect them to sit there and take it.
Hence, “OK, boomer.” But that’s unacceptable, right? It’s unfair to be stereotyped based on… oh.
See what I did there?
The generational labeling is nothing new, and us Gen-Z kids and millennials aren’t the ones who started it.
And as for the whole idea that we were raised expecting “participation trophies,” I have to ask: who were the ones handing those out?
I’m not saying that “OK, boomer” is right, quite the opposite, in fact.
I don’t feel that that sort of clapback is at all constructive.
But for many, many young people, it’s cathartic, and that seems to be enough.
An offensive remark leads to a clapback, which leads to anger, which leads to a confrontation, which leads to an offensive remark.
Rinse and repeat.
It might be easy to dismiss “OK, boomer” as just another sign that the youths are disrespectful and entitled.
But I propose, for just a moment, that you consider our point of view.
We grew up hearing that we have it so much easier than you, our elders.
But is that really true?
Chances are, the majority of us don’t remember a world before 9/11.
We grew up in the shadow of the longest war in all of American history, a war that is ongoing.
On the home front, so to speak, we lived with the dark, constant presence of terrorist attacks and mass shootings.
We couldn’t feel fully safe anywhere, not at school, or at the movies, or even at the grocery store.
On top of that, we were the ones coming of age when the infamous 2008 financial crisis occurred.
Suddenly, we lost the promise that every prior generation had once had, that with hard work, economic prosperity would follow.
We saw adults losing their jobs and realized that our future was uncertain.
The cost of living and expense of college tuition have increased since you were young people, and the wages haven’t risen to meet them.
And if that isn’t enough, we can clearly see that the world is headed toward a near-inevitable environmental crisis.
The undeniable – yes, it is undeniable – threat of climate change endangering the entire planet.
It may be easy for you to shrug off, since the full effects may not be felt for decades.
But for us, that’s within our lifetime, and our potential childrens’ lifetimes.
Through all of this, we have been told time and time again that we are, among other things, entitled, tech-obsessed, selfish and ignorant.
It’s enough to make anyone want to clap back.
Enter the now-infamous phrase: “OK, boomer.”
And, with that, the rest is history.
My point is not to increase animosity and division between our generations.
Nor do I want to say that you didn’t experience any hardship or fear growing up.
Instead, I’m trying to give you a bit of insight into our experience.
Hopefully, when we all gather over the holidays, we can agree to leave the stereotypes at home.
Hopefully, we can instead try a good helping of empathy and understanding.
That’s the only way we’ll overcome the generational divide and find solutions for the problems that threaten our world —together.
This message is made with love from Generation Z to the baby boomer generation.