I had a conversation with some younger fathers about parenting and a couple of them suggested my generation was out of touch.
Because my views and approach on a couple of areas are different from theirs and they saw me as being part of the old guard.
It made me chuckle because I understand if you are in your early thirties you might look at a guy who is entering his late forties as being old.
I used to be that guy too. I used to the the thirty-something who looked at the baby boomers who were ten or so years older than me as being old.
But what I didn’t do was turn my nose up at their childhood and think of them as having grown up in a repressive time where the only happy people were upper middle class white people who lived lives that resembled Leave It To Beaver.
Because life wasn’t like that for everyone anyway.
Still I held my tongue for a few minutes and waited for them to empty their minds of their big progressive thoughts.
And then I told them about my childhood and shared how it wasn’t different for many of my friends and waited for a response.
It didn’t take long for it to come. It didn’t take long for them to tell me I was misguided and wrong and to suggest I really rethink my position.
If I would have had the picture of the giraffes running I might have shown it to the guys and told them I knew why they were running.
I would have told them I was chasing them. I would have told them I dressed up as a lion, roared and ran towards the giraffes and that I almost choked because I was laughing so hard.
They probably would have told me it was ridiculous and I would have asked them how they could know if it was or not because they couldn’t see me in the picture.
They couldn’t know if the giraffes were running because of me, lions or because they felt like it.
They weren’t there to experience it so how could they possibly know.
The War On Experience
I hear a lot of dads talk about the importance of changing fatherhood and becoming better fathers.
I applaud and celebrate that but what chaps my hide is the suggestion that the older generations didn’t have any interest in doing that.
If you weren’t there it is hard to say what they did or did not want to do. It is hard to say they didn’t have any interest.
Granted it is not hard to say many of the older generation dads might have found it more challenging to be more involved because society wasn’t as accepting of some of those things.
I know that in my 25 years in the workplace I have seen an evolution in how employers view the balance between work and family life. It had to have been more challenging for my dad and grandfathers generations.
But it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen or that there wasn’t an interest.
Don’t mistake this to be an attack on younger people because I am not suggesting that all younger dads or younger people are self absorbed, pompous windbags.
Those traits aren’t limited to age. They are just part of the peachy keen human experience.
And don’t mistake any of this to mean that I didn’t make foolish comments when I was younger because I did.
Hell, I still do from time to time now because again, it is part of the human experience.
But, having reached a certain place in life I can say it feels like I hear more comments that suggest my beloved Generation X is out of touch with technology and reality.
I may be biased but I see big advantages in Being Part of Generation X. I like being part of the bridge between the analog and the digital worlds.
And I like having lived long enough to know I don’t know it all.
There is a lot left to learn and my learning isn’t limited to age ‘cuz I know that it is all relative and that younger folks can teach me things just as older can.
That is part of the benefit of life experience. I don’t feel like I have to prove anything to anyone or that I need to tell you how much I know.
And I have definitely learned that sometimes the reason why something doesn’t exist isn’t because it wasn’t of interest or not considered to be of value.
Sometimes it is because circumstances didn’t make it possible or because experience demonstrated it wasn’t necessary.
Hell, if nothing else life experience has taught me how mutable home is. Where we live today may not be where we live tomorrow.
It is part of why I focus on trying to ask the right questions.
One Last Comment
I like a good healthy debate. I don’t mind having my views challenged but I do mind trying to have a discussion with people who are unwilling to consider a different perspective or point of view.
If I have one overlying concern about current times it is the unwillingness by so many to step outside of the echo chamber and ask themselves if the other side has a valid point.
The middle feels empty and the far sides feel crowded.