The most fascinating fact about life today, and it’s not technology
Did you happen to notice that we have 6 distinctly different generations who are alive today? Let it be great medical advancements, or technological measures, either way, we have more generations co-exist today than ever before in human history.
This comes with great challenges. Two of the greatest challenges seem to be how we work, and otherwise congregate with each other. First things first; please find below the list of generations that I have read about in Carrol Anne Sheppard’s book “Congregational Connections” (get the Kindle edition):
- Builders – 1901-1924
- Silents – 1925-1945
- Boomers – 1946-1960
- Generation Xers – 1961-1984
- Millenials – 1985-2001
- Generation Zers – 2002-
What is so unique about this situation is that technological progress has picked up speed at an exponential speed. Each generation has its own set of values, beliefs, tolerance, courage, adaptability, skill sets, ideals, loyalty, aspirations, and of course a different view on money and religious beliefs.
It is no wonder that churches are no longer filled on Sundays. Going once a month has been accepted to count as being a “regular” attendee. Many groups and their sub groups are now the core congregation and they may never really share a common place. Fascinating. With it comes the struggle to survive; with church attendance down there are fewer offerings made and many churches struggle to survive financially.
For quite some time we no longer need to be in one room to meet. We are there “virtually”. It is still fascinating me. Our workplace has totally changed over the last 10 to 15 years. Boomers may not be able to retire soon, but Generation Xers are at an age when they can finally carry the load of society and they cannot do that without the older generation retiring. Millennials are waiting in line patiently too in order to one day getting a better career. Many HR professionals struggle with keeping up with updating their compensation and training systems. Loyalty to an organization is less and less valued. Creating a challenging working environment for multiple generations that have such significantly different values and aspirations is nothing for the faint-hearted.
It is tough not to judge folks based on the generation we think they belong to. That is the reason why we should seek to understand each one of them. Understanding where people come from usually helps propelling everyone upwards. Do yourself a favor and reflect on which group(s) you hang out with the most. If it is fewer than three you should make the extra effort changing this as soon as possible. You are missing out on a lot of insight and that makes for more stress and issues in the long run.
Please make the effort to reach out to generations who are much older and younger than you are. These are fascinating times to be alive. Make sure to enrich your life and that of others by starting to have a genuine interest in getting to know them better.