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Generalizations (stereotypes, prejudices) work perfectly if applied only to oneself.

In this area, in the group of young people and their parents with whom I interact, I can say things are as good as ever and probably better than ever in many respects. Yes, there are some people who make mistakes or are outright selfish or crooked, but for the most part, I see a much better society than the one I grew up in. I'm one of those boomers, I guess, leading edge or so I'm told.

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Well, the categories might be silly, they might not apply, etc. etc.







They are accepted sociological groupings that have been around for some time. It's not something I made up, I'm not that smart. :)


However, others have, they are addressing it widely in a variety of different settings, especially business/management, but the dynamics of such cultural differences and all I was bringing up is how do those differences affect the BSA program?


Sure broad generalizations aren't always helpful in specific situations, but an understanding that the youth of today did NOT grow up in the world we knew when we grew up! etc. I dated face to face with girls. Today with email, text messaging, chat rooms, match.com, etc. etc. people "date" electronically. Gen Y people have difficulty with interpersonal relationships, especially conflict situations, because they lack experience with talking to other people face to face. Gossip used to go over the backyard fence, now it is spammed out in e-mail at the speed of light.


So how does one get a boy interested in grass and trees when all he's known is keyboards and monitors?


It won't be long before the next generation figures out how to do a virtual Philmont trek.


The issue I was addressing is with the life-style of today's BSA personnel, one can actually interact with as many as 4 different generations rather than maybe the historical 2 or 3. Parent/child of the pioneer generations. Grandparent/parent/child, and now due to the health improvements and longer age expectancy we have Grgrandparent/grandparent/parent/child interaction in scouts. I have hadn't any gr-grandparent/child relationships in Boy Scouts, but there's nothing in the book that says a gr-grandparent can't be a tiger cub "parent". We have had evidence of grandparent/child in an ever increasing number.


Do you as SM/CM need to know how to relate to different generations now more than one did in the past? If your troop/pack is in political turmoil does everyone play by the same rules? etc.


I am seeing more and more of this type of thing coming into play in our area.


Kid is getting his Eagle, dad has had expectations different than kid, grandfather has an even different set of expectations than either the dad or the kid. Have fun sorting that one out....



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I've never been a fan of these generational categories, because I don't seem to fit in very well myself. Like Obama, I was born in 1961. (He's a couple of months younger than I, so for the first time in my life, I really am old enough to be President. Fortunately, I don't want the job.) My generational identity is a little out of synch with everyone else. I had a grandfather who was born in 1855, so you can do the math.


But one thing I read somewhere that made a great deal of sense is that history tends to run in cycles of about 80 years. After the last people who remember making a particular mistake die, then the new people are free to make the same mistake. Each of those cycles has three or four generations within it (or, in my case, two), and those lines get a little bit blurred. But the approximate 80 year cycle (remember, "four score and seven years ago") keeps coming back with a big event to mark the occasion.


So it was about 80 years from the American Revolution to the Civil War. Then, it was about 80 years until the Second World War. There's generally a buildup of a few decades (for example, slavery controversy, first world war, 9/11). And then, about every 80 years, we have the crisis precipitated by those events, and a Great Generation comes along to clean up the mess once and for all. So one generation fights the Revolutionary War. And just about the time that the last veteran of that war dies, another generation fights the Civil War. And then, about the time the last Civil War vet is gone, another generation fights WW2.


My dad and his great generation served in WW2. His grandfather and his great generation served in the Civil War. His grandson and his generation, now Cub Scouts, are probably going to be called upon to save the world the next time. And if history is a guide, they'll do exactly that. Sometime in the 2020's, there will be a handful of hundred year old vets of WW2. And there will be a few more 90 year olds who lied about their age and enlisted at 16 near the end of the war. But most of them will be gone. And when most of them are gone, the next big event will happen. And the current crop of Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Brownies, and Girl Scouts will have to jump in and save the world. I hope it's not a war, but it will be something catastrophic. But whatever it is, they'll save the world.


This is probably going to happen no matter how poorly we do our jobs as parents. Again, if history is a guide, some of those previous generations of parents also did a very poor job of parenting. But somehow, a Great Generation managed to emerge.


About the best we can do as parents is to give the next generation a fighting chance by making sure that at least some of them know how to Be Prepared, that they're Trustworth, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, etc.

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The only problem with the Boy Scout generational diversity presentation is that the dates are based on a parental fecundity (number of births) generational theory while the discussion is based on the peer personality generational theory of Strauss & Howe.


Using Strauss & Howe, the Baby Boom generation is dated from 1943 to 1960, the Gen-X generation is dated from 1961 to 1981 and the Millenial generation is dated from 1982 to 2000, and the peer personalities are much closer matches within those date ranges. Someone born from 1961 to 1964 has far more in common, personality wise, experience wise and viewpoint wise with someone born in the 1970's than they do with someone born in the 1950s.


The disconnect is bound to happen when you name one of the cohort groups the "Baby Boom" generation then try to figure out the parameters of that generation based on birth rates. In the late 50's the birth rate was starting to go down - but then blipped up again in the early 1960's - a douple-dip boom?


Under Strauss & Howe, President Obama is the first Gen-X president. Sociologists wouldn't be surprised at the large amount of support that President Obama got from the X-ers and the Millenials - after all, he speaks the language. Sociologists wouldn't be surprised at the large amount of pushback President Obama is getting from the Boomers and "Matures" (most folks that identify with the "tea party" are Boomers and "Matures") because he doesn't quite speak their language.


Speaking to Clem's point about feeling disconnected sometimes, there is another possible dimension to the whole thing too. (Like Clem, I was born in 1961 too, and have always considered myself an X-er, ask a boomer who had the first television on the block and most can probably answer - ask someone my age or younger and we'll wonder what planet you came from since everyone had a television at home when we were children). That other dimension is that there are occassional generational shifts usually brought on by massive upheavals in the social order or technology. When that happens, there is usually a small cohort group (5 or less years - not quite a generation, but generally indentifiable in hindsight) that act as a definable "bridge" between two generations. There is some indication that the years 1961-1964 is one of those bridges. We had massive social order upheavals while this group were children, and massive technological changes while this group were children. What was new and unusual in the Boomer's lives was common place by the time this group was hitting middle school. And it was this cohorts ability as the real early adopters of the new technologies and social order that smoothed the way for the later members of their generational cohort group, and the following cohort group, to adapt quickly to a new world. The same difference isn't really seen in the shift from X-er to Millenial - there really hasn't been any technological upheaval since the early 1960's - we aren't really developing new technologies as much as improving existing technologies - making things smaller and faster. We've seen this kind of bridging before - the industrial revolution brought massive social and technological upheaval and there was a 4-5 year "bridge" cohort.




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Gossip used to go over the backyard fence, now it is spammed out in e-mail at the speed of light...


Hate to say this, Stosh, but you're out of date. E-mail is now old-school! Facebook messages and texting have replaced it among the younger crowds.

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Hey, Shortridge! I'm a Boomer! I've been outdated for a long time! However, I do have a personal website, I'm on Facebook, can program in basic, C, C++, Fortran, Cobol, know my way around Microsoft and OpenSystems, and have Debian Linix on my machine at home. Best operating system ever invited: OpenVMS. Sad to say my old C/PM system is gone as well as my OS-2, but my Radio Shack Coco with floppy drive and C-compiler still works just fine. :)


SuperCalc anyone? How about DOS 1.0 I was doing video chats way back in the days of ICU.


I may know more about computers than the average kid, but I can also cook them under the table on an open campfire too.


Age and treachery will win out over youth and exuberance any day!!!!



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As long as we're comparing useless computer skills, I think I still know how to program a Z80 processor in machine code or CP/M. Gad! Some things I'd soooo like to forget. That was way before DOS. These days not many people even know what Job Control Language was.

That's a generation gap. In those days 4K of ram was enormous. 300 baud modems...wow. At one time I could read the code on a paper punch tape. I still have box of punch tape data somewhere. Probably ought to recycle that sometime.

I still have one of Clive Sinclair's little computers that I hooked to a car battery and used it in the field to log temperature data remotely. These days you can do that with a device the size of a button.

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Okay, laser printers really are great, ink jet does pretty good, 9-pin and 24-pin were a major step up at one point, but does anyone remember the old chain printers that needed soundproof boxes to be tolerated in a room on the other end of the building?


Word Processesing programs so powerful you could embed your own format codes for bolding, underlining, and such. Fonts beyond pica and elite were still pie in the sky.


I remember the day I tossed the cassette player and replaced it with a 5.25 floppy! That was a banner day, even more exciting than replacing the punch cards with the cassette. And yes, I have a networked machine that can still read the 5.25's. Or the big dilemma of whether to get single or going the extra cost of HD 3.5's.


And yes, Beta was better than VHS. 8-tracks better than cassettes and nothing could beat a good vinyl.


One phone that hung in the kitchen? How did that work?


Going over to the neighbors to watch the game in color on their 24" console! TV Guide always indicated which programs were in color so you could put it on your wall calendar and not miss it.


Gas stoves that lit with a pilot light?


And for us early Boomers, rotary dial, and for the small town/rural Boomers, all you needed to do is crank and tell the operator who you wanted and she knew the number for you. Remember the button rotary phones that let you push a button that would tick off the number of clicks instead of spinning the dial?


Most Gen Y's/Millenials have no idea what life was like with no TV, Computer, Cell Phone, Microwave, fast food, pizza, SUV/Minivans, or stay at home mom's.


But then again every generation thinks it grew up in the Golden Age of America. That may be a good thing. Maybe not. Yellowstone used to have bears, having a boat meant it came with oars and a small motor if you were lucky. Boys used to make boats, not buy them. We didn't need keys to the car, we had our bikes. Fishing meant a cane pole, line, hooks and a can of corn. Maybe your buddy would bring a trowel to dig up a few worms if you wanted some.


Maybe today's generation speaks an entirely different "language" than the others, but why do so many of them continually ask to know more about what it was like, "way back then."?


I remember when we used to carry matches, flashlight and signal mirror in case we got lost in the woods. Now kids carry cell phones in case they get lost at the mall. :)


Maybe I should do a 1960's reenactment sometime.


Maybe instead of donating my body to science after I die, I should consider a museum instead.


Yet, because of scouting, the next generation knows about dutch oven cooking just like their pioneer relatives did. It's nice to know some things just don't have to change...



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