Tuesday, May 6, 2014. I arrived a bit early for my drumming lesson two weeks ago. Brett had no student immediately before me so we fell into easy conversation about how it can be difficult for parents to understand their children and most certainly also for children to understand their parents. Brett talked about the wide difference in outlook between himself and his grandfather and then brought up what is known as
Strauss–Howe generational theory
I just looked this up on Wickipedia to do a little reading about the ideas Brett was describing. While it might seem obvious that different generations are likely to have differences in understanding one another it wasn’t so obvious to me that the patterns within distinct generations can contribute to communication difficulties that we might be most tempted to lump under some other concept — such as “codependency” or family “dysfunction.”
There is a lot of information packed into the Wicki article at this link. For example, here is a breakdown of generations but to understand what the letters after the names given to these generations and how the generations were defined it requires reading the article:
I think it is worth a little time to look all of this over. Nobody is outside the influence of the forces affecting their generation. One could ask, “How safe and secure is any generation?” This of course is a meaningless question unless one narrows scope to look at the specific forces around the globe that influence societies differently from one another.
I had never thought about the fact that my three children do not share a generation. The two older ones were born in the 1970s while the youngest was born in 1985. He is of the first techno generation as I call it. My drumming teacher shares a generation with my son. I share the Baby Boomer generation with three of my siblings, but the younger boys were born into the same Generation X that my girls share.
My mother and father both shared an early start in the Silent Generation. Certain forces within their generation that affected them affected our family as I grew up just as forces in my generation affected me as the mother of my own children. These patterns would be true for everyone no matter what level of additional trauma may have been present in one’s childhood.
The article offers this as a summary of this theory – Interesting article
- An average life is 80 years, and consists of four periods of ~20 years
- Childhood → Young adult → Midlife → Elderhood
- A generation is an aggregate of people born every ~20 years
- Baby Boomers → Gen X → Millennials → Homeland Gen
- Each generation experiences “four turnings” every ~80 years
- High → Awakening → Unraveling → Crisis
- A generation is considered “dominant” or “recessive” according to the turning experienced as young adults. But as a youth generation comes of age and defines its collective persona an opposing generational archetype is in its midlife peak of power.
- Dominant: independent behavior + attitudes in defining an era
- Recessive: dependent role in defining an era
- Dominant Generations
- Prophet: Awakening as young adults. Awakening, defined: Institutions are attacked in the name of personal and spiritual autonomy
- Hero: Crisis as young adults. Crisis, defined: Institutional life is destroyed and rebuilt in response to a perceived threat to the nation’s survival
- Recessive Generations
- Nomad: Unraveling as young adults. Unraveling, defined: Institutions are weak and distrusted, individualism is strong and flourishing
- Artist: High [when they become] young adults. High, defined: Institutions are strong and individualism is weak
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