Gather Around Children for a Tale of Generational Learning
Every generation thinks they know better than the next when they're the ones who raised them!
Gather Around Children for a Tale of Generational Learning
Not a day goes by when I don’t find myself explaining to a young person how things were when I was a “kid”. Yes, I’ve become that middle aged lady. The growth of social media and the endless options we have on tv or streaming make this divide even more obvious. For example, I recently had to explain to my daughter that when I hold my hand up to my ear with only the pinky and thumb extended out, I’m pretending to be on the phone. I then had to explain how my parents would frequently interrupt my phone calls by dialing without first listening (savages) and then invite themselves into my calls demanding I hang up so they could make an important call. The mortification still haunts me to this day. Gen-Xers and Elder Millennials, I’m looking at you.
With all that we have consuming our daily lives are we taking the time to truly share the unique education from our respective generations? What’s more, do we even take the time to ask our elders about their generational experiences so we can begin the conversation? I was recently speaking with a friend about our kids and while we remarked that they have so much more than we could’ve dreamt of growing up we now feel faced with creating scenarios to build character. This current generation of young people have so many advantages we were never afforded (nor could we imagine) and we worry they’ll lose a little of that backbone you build when you have to struggle. Let’s face it, growing up in a time when you have “less” really helps to build some admirable characteristics in a person. It’s like the living conditions of the world in that moment Miyagied* us into the people we are today and only in retrospect do we understand. For example:
Waiting by the radio to click on that stereo at the exact moment your favorite song was about to play (and inevitably catching part of the DJs banter in the beginning). Memorizing the TV Guide so you knew which nights you had to be home to catch your favorite shows (or to preprogram the VCR to record them). Sharing one single phone line with every member of your family and taking your turn to “spill the beans” to your bestie about the cute boy in homeroom. Sound familiar? Our lives were constantly presenting speedbumps to force us to take a breath and press forward. If you ever doubt your ability to “wait” on something just remember that you made it through dial-up internet and can do anything!
Phone numbers had to be written down when you met a hottie or worse, you had to memorize them! There was no Google, only Encyclopedia Britannica and hopefully the neighbor returned Volume M before your report on mammals was due. VHS tapes didn’t just rewind themselves so if you returned a rented tape without rewinding you got charged an additional fine. Velcro sneakers were incredibly uncool so you had to learn to tie those damn laces by Kindergarten or else! We had to remember to plan ahead and be prepared for consequences before they hit. I’m not saying we’re all incredibly skilled at this but we all woke up by 7am on Saturday mornings so we could catch The Snorks before Gummi Bears* started.
An empty cardboard box was a dream come true and provided hours of endless entertainment. A few cool sticks and boom, we’re in Princess Bride avenging Inigo Montoya’s father*. If we needed extra money for the ice cream man would get our moms to buy cases of Blow Pops so we could sell them in school for $.25/ea then roll in the dough! When you have less to work with it forces you to really think outside the box and use the right side of that brain. We came up with solutions rather than focusing on the problems and it’s created a generation of doers. There was no such thing as “gentle parenting” when we grew up so you had to figure things out quickly because nobody’s mom had time for our shit.
We had free reign of our neighborhoods and would disappear on our bikes until dusk. Most of us had keys we wore around our necks and came home from school to make ourselves a snack and walk the dog. We packed our own school lunches and I honestly can’t remember anyone ever helping me with homework until my mom hired that weird math tutor in high school. It kills me that we know now not to trust the world the way we did before. I wish I could let my kids roam around and make friends with the neighbors and drink water from the hose. We thought times were simpler (boy were we wrong) but it did create a self-confidence that drove us through school and straight into responsible adulthood.
On the flipside of these observations, I can’t help but reflect on the amazing characteristics of Generation Z and Gen Alpha (I seriously had to look this one up cuz you guys are babies) and it made me realize that they have a sea of knowledge in emotional intelligence that we paid our therapists dearly to possess. For example:
Oh man, you guys have seen so much! What happens when you have a generation that’s grown up through school shootings, cyber bullying, terrorism, multiple wars, a recession, global warming and a pandemic? You mold people into empathetic, compassionate beings. Unfortunately for this generation, they’ve had to witness the worst of humanity in their daily lives due to the power of social media and have not had the gift of ignorant bliss like the generations before. This is a generation where we’re seeing more and more youth take gap years to give back before moving forward with their futures. Generation Z has proven time and time again that they are ready and willing to fight for the social issues that have spotted their lives and their levels of acceptance and tolerance are admirable.
Let’s face it, these kids are smarter than us. I don’t know about you but when I was in preschool we pretty much finger painted and ate paste while these kids now enter kindergarten reading, writing and practically programming computers! Though I pity their lack of knowledge of the Oregon Trail*, I can’t imagine how amazing it would’ve been to Google information for research papers instead of having to read the Cliff’s Notes* and watch the miniseries. Do people even learn the Dewey Decimal System anymore? Why would you need to when full global awareness is just a click away!
When you consider how long it took people to move from car phones to actual cell phones it’s no wonder prior generations tend to drag their feet at change. However, Gen Z has grown up with change at break-neck speeds and not only accepts it but expects it. I for one plan on always keeping a close circle of Gen Z friends because I’m going to need someone to program my phone for me in the nursing home.
Every generation has its own sense of superiority toward the generations both before and after their own and this sentiment is something we’ve all encountered and always will. However, when we take a moment to connect with each other, ask questions, listen and teach we can bridge the gaps in generational learning that divides us today. We need to take time to build relationships with each other rather than blame the Boomers for all the damn things. Also, one last thing I know you kids are dying to ask, music used to be played on these round things called records, then on these square things called cassettes and then back on round things called CDs but now records are cool again except we refer to them as vinyl.
*Mr. Miyagi was Daniel Larusso’s karate instructor from “Karate Kid” and he owned an incredible fleet of vintage cars that led me to believe we never really knew the man.
*The Snorks and Gummi Bears were anchors of the Saturday Morning Cartoon lineup. I once broke my arm pretending to be a Gummy Bear with my cousin and I regret nothing!
*Inigo Montoya was a Spaniard out for vengeance in The Princess Bride and if Hollywood ever gets stupid enough to try to remake that masterpiece I’m burning it all down!
*The Oregon Trail is the greatest video game of all time and taught a generation how to forge a river and also the dangers of dysentery.
*Cliff’s Notes were these magical little books that gave you the synopsis for basically every book ever. It was basically Wikipedia in paper form and was easily recognized by its bright yellow covers and black font.
Quick Recipes for Busy Bitches
All this nostalgia has had me thinking back on when I fell in love with cooking as a child. My mother always loved to be in the kitchen and I was her sidekick. We also learned so many recipes from our neighbor who we lovingly called Grandma Helen. She was the queen of common sense and was incredibly generous with her time and her knowledge. This recipe is for her famous Hot Milk Cake which I learned to bake when I was 7 years old, like my daughter. Not to brag or anything but homegirl won the 1st grade bakeoff with this little gem!
If you’ve ever wanted to learn to make a cake from scratch but felt too intimidated then this is one for you. After all, a freaking 7 year old can make it!
Half cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
¾ cup whole milk
1 ½ cups sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
2tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Also needed, 1 Bundt pan and Baker’s Joy spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
A Few Random Thoughts to Leave You With
I have decided that as my subscribers I will now refer to you all as The Riveters and I need you all to be ok with that.
Timothy Chalamet and Kylie Jenner are officially dating and I’m dying to know what they talk about almost as badly as I want to hear Kendall Jenner try to communicate with Bad Bunny!
Confession: I still haven’t seen “Everything Everywhere All at Once” or any other Oscar Award Winning film from 2022. However, I’m completely up to date on every true crime case out there both solved or cold!
We’re traveling for a wedding weekend in a couple days and are finally attending the infamous Dolce Vita Pool Party. Stay tuned for content.
Be Cool xoxo