Friday, February 22, 2008

Which are you...Silent, Boomer, 13ner, Millennial?

Last night members of the PALMS colloquium meet for an interesting discussion of the book, "The Fourth Turning" by Strauss and Howe copyright 1996. Here is what I learned in reading and listening to the abridgment of this book and then talking to others, in a small degree.

History runs in cycles. In this case 4 turnings. 1st Turning called the High, although I have heard Dr. DeMille, President of Geroge Wythe College call this first turning the Founding. 2nd turning is the Awakening, 3rd turning the Unraveling , and the 4th turning is the Crisis. These authors thought they were the first to come across this idea but as they researched they found it was not so. The Etruscans understood these cycles of turnings and said their society would last through 10 Saeculum. The saeculum is about 80-100 years +/- a few years and includes the four turnings. The Romans lasted through 12 I think.
I was born during the Awakening or 2nd Turning. 1964-1984 is the Nomad generation and people born in this time are called the 13ners or x generation. A generation is 20 years. My parents are the Artist generation called the Silent generation. Boomer's are the Prophet generation. Interestingly Barack Obama was born right on the cuff of both the Boomer and 13ner generations. One would need to ask him who he relates to better to say weather he is a 13ner or a boomer. I was born in 65, I am a Nomad from my lone life in my 20's to my late marriage in my 30's. Of course if the opportunity came earlier for marriage that would of been great but I don't know if I was ready then. People born during my generation are called the 13ners because we are the 13 generation of Americans.
My children are the Hero generation. They are the Millennial children. these children with be young adults when the Crisis of the Fourth Turning cycles through society again. No one has a crystal ball to see what the crisis is going to be, however history shows it is usually a war. Revolutionary War, Civil War, WW2, next war. The authors said that the parents of these Hero generation children and the children themselves will be willing to give of themselves for the cause of the fight. Boy, would I be willing to let my son die?
Wednesday I started reading a book to the children called The Boys of 76. The first story is about Elijah Favor who was 16 during the battle of Concord and Lexington. His father was actually the minute-man. But when the call came to take up arms, Eli said he would go for his father and Elijah's mom said yes to Eli going and that the older father must stay home. She was willing to give her Hero son to the cause knowing that possibly a linage of family would end with the death of a child. I think this is interesting.
Yesterday I was tying to catchup on writing reviews form recent books I read in January. I was thinking and writing about The Keeper of the Bees, which is post WW1. The main character Jamie McFarland is a Nomad generation also called the Lost generation. The time is beginning to enter the Flapper stage, morals and values of this generation had been on a decline. The author of the book who was born post civil war and of the Reconstruction generation is writing not just about this character but about society and the need for moral change and for parents to teach their children to turn away from social sin and temptations.
The GI generation was also a Hero generation of the WW2 era. They won the war and have been heroes since. Though this group is in later elder hood now. Next is the Silent/Artist generation. Presidential runner John Mccain is from the Silent generation maybe on the edge of the Hero generation. Hillary is a Boomer.

I have lots of questions and need to read this work again and ponder. This reading has opened my perspective of generational gaps and has increased my feelings of preparing myself and our children for greater causes in the future. How far into the future I don't know but I feel there is something of great value and worth in the effort we are using to raise our children and increase our own knowledge and wisdom.

1 comment:

ElectionGazer said...

Interesting anaysis. Relevantly, there is a growing consensus in the media, and among experts, that Obama is not a Boomer, nor an Xer, but instead is a member of Generation Jones (born 1954-1965, the heretofore lost generation between the Boomers and Xers).

Just in the last month or so, several top media outlets, including The New York Times, Newsweek Magazine, and NBC, have all made the argument that Obama is specifically part of Generation Jones. I also heard a panel of generations experts recently on a national radio show discussing this specific issue, and four of the five experts conlcuded that Obama is, in fact, a GenerationJoneser…that his bio and political worldview closely match the GenJones archetype.