“There are two things children should get from their parents: roots and wings” ~ Goethe
Does it ever seem like things are different now than when you were a kid? What are some of the generational shifts you’ve noticed? What’s new that is better, and what are some of the things you’re glad we’ve left behind?
Generations are a funny thing. We set them apart from each other or culturally with names, and attribute different characteristics to each. But these broad brush strokes of generalities are often assumptions that are accepted at face value with little inquiry.
Remember The Greatest Generation? I don’t, but apparently my parents were part of it. These are the folks with their childhood years in the Great Depression, who went on to fight in, (or at least lived through), World War II.
Walking five miles uphill both ways to school through a foot of snow is the cliché of course, but many of these people lived through challenges far different from what we face today, and witnessed things we hope to never see again.
Then came the The Silent Generation, who came of age under the shadow of McCarthyism and formed a majority that allowed the civil rights movement to happen.
Baby Boomers were next, children of a post-war economic boom who were steeped in the belief that the sky was the limit and anything was possible. This “demographic cohort” is generally considered to include people born between the early to mid-1940s and the mid-1960s, and gave birth to the hippie movement and a huge shift in consciousness in general.
I was more-or-less born straddling generations, with one foot planted firmly on the isle of the Boomers, while a large part of me identified and grew up with the sensibilities of Generation X. The Gen-X aesthetic was built around an awareness that maybe there was a dark side to all the utopian rhetoric, an existential disaffection that gave rise to the “No Future” credo of Punk Rock, the nihilism of Grunge, the arrival of Hip-Hop, and tellingly, the birth of MTV.
Millennials were the first generation to swim in the sea of digital technology from the cradle on. Witnessing the rise of the World Wide Web from the background of home computers and early video games, people born between the early 1980’s and late-1990’s became used to a rate of change that was unprecedented.
What we are calling the Post-Millennial’s is still up for debate, some people use the term Generation Z for these digital natives. If you’re in this age group, you’ve never known a world without social media, and having a device in your pocket with more computing power than the Apollo moon mission is standard practice.
The operative phrase with all of these is “never known a world without (______).” Every generation is swimming in a different sea than the ones before. I’ve never known a world without television. My daughter has never known a world without iPhones. My Dad has never known a world without automobiles.
What’s interesting is not just the fact that each generation has a different experience. The way in which generations relate with one another is changing too. We used to speak of “The Generation Gap“ and revel in the battles of rebellion that set us apart.
Today however, we are seeing a different trend. Parents who run interference for their children, involving themselves deeply in the many activities that foster independence into adulthood.
In her recent bestselling book “How to Raise an Adult – Break free of the overparenting trap and prepare your kid for success. “ former Stanford dean of admissions Julie Lythcott-Haims reminds us that the path to success is rarely a straight line from the best schools to the right university to the proper internship to the fabulous career. And that the parents who intervene with shortcuts are not necessarily doing their kids a service.
In fact, it’s the life skills that are developed only when parents let go that teach children how to succeed. Tenacity, grit, and resilience are only developed when young folks are allowed to fail and recover on their own.
Recent research is revealing an unsettling correlation as well. It’s becoming apparent that the kids who get a helping hand every step of the way, from elementary school homework to college admissions and beyond, are the ones most at risk for depression and lack of direction in general.
The always-on, always-connected nature of today’s technology is the driving force between this meta-shift in generational relationships. If you’ve grown up with a phone in your pocket, it’s hard to imagine being disconnected from anyone for more than a few hours at a time, let alone your children!
It’s worth taking a conscious look at our dance with both technology and the generations before and beyond us. The tools that connect us can have a double edge if too much connection is handicapping us in other ways. Balance and awareness of the bigger picture are very important.
In writing these weekly words, it’s all to easy for me to make the assumption that I’m seeking to people of a similar age or experience as me. So I encourage you to apply a liberal grain of salt! If these words offer a springboard to further reflection, then by all means take what is useful and leave the rest behind…
May your dance with your daily world be delightful, and your week have some shining moments of light!
Much love till next Monday!
DANCE FIRST MEMBER SPOTLIGHT – Alex Svoboda and the “Here I Am” retreat at Okreblue!
The retreat is happening from September 28 to October 3rd, but now is the time to make plans since they are offering an early bird discount until June 15th!
Okreblue is an epic destination, where you will enjoy a great dance floor, excellent sound, warm sea, beautiful landscapes, and great food from the local organic gardens to support you on your movement journey.
Alex’s promise to you:
Being seen is one of those things that we most want and are most scared of. And that is where we are going with Here I Am. We are going to be seen. Seen by a partner. Seen by the whole group of fellow travelers on this journey of self-discovery, creativity and healing. Seen by the sand, sun, waves and wind…
Here I am
Just as I am
Just a human soul in a moving body
Just a dancer
We will move
We will connect
We will support each other
We will play and find pleasure in beautiful surroundings
We will nourish our bodies and spirits
This retreat is designed for anyone who is already teaching conscious movement or is thinking about becoming a teacher. If you love dance, meditation and conscious movement, and have danced with freedomDANCE teachers or any other ICMTA member teachers for at least 20 hours, then this is the destination for you!
Learn more about freedomDANCE and the international work of Alex Svoboda at freedom-dance.com
Visit Okreblue.com to learn more about this epic Mediterranean retreat center!