Sanders: Generations |

Sanders: Generations

Naming generations seems to be a past time of historians. Perhaps the most known is “The Greatest Generation,” a name coined by Tom Brokaw in his book of the same name.

The years from 1901 through 1924 were the ones that produced the fighters of World War II. They had lived through the Great Depression and knew what it was to be hungry and poor. This motivated them during the war.

Though not a generational name, the Roaring 20s were certainly a distinctive era. That was when flappers and other flashy clothing styles were in vogue and for nearly a decade it was the rage to flaunt financial successes. That is, until the economy came crashing down in October 1929.

Baby boomers are considered those born between 1943 and 1964. Babies born between 1965 through 1979 are Generation X.

“Really? You would think that anyone living on a farm would realize just how dependent farmers are on the vagaries of weather and that one has to ‘make hay while the sun shines.’”

In 1991, Neil Howe and William Strauss, historians, published a book “Generations” in which they first used the term millennial, defined as those born between 1980 and 2000 and called Generation Y by others.

The latest, Generation Z is also referred to as the iGeneration. Born between 2001 and 2013, they are the most technology-aware generation to date.

Don’t worry if your birth year doesn’t come up in these accounts; they are only guidelines and there is leeway.

I hadn’t given much thought to this nomenclature until recent conversations. I’ve concluded that this age group could also be called the “Me Generation.”

I joined a Facebook group called “Farm Wives Support,” thinking it would be fun to connect with other farm wives. It turns out that the group is filled with disgruntled women. They complain about their husbands working too hard and not taking time for the family during harvest.

Really? You would think that anyone living on a farm would realize just how dependent farmers are on the vagaries of weather and that one has to “make hay while the sun shines.”

I tried to encourage the members and explained that the men would also like to see more of their families. I pointed out how they could go to the farmer when he’s in the field, even take a youngster’s birthday cake along. I finally just gave up and took myself out of the group.

Above all, there are many in this generation who simply do not want to work and apparently don’t have to. Help wanted signs hang in all sorts of businesses. A man I know in Rapid City, S.D., is a retired fireman who has never lost his zeal for work. He has an adult son who is chronically unemployed but his dad doesn’t bail him out. I was always under the impression that work ethic was taught by observing hard workers, then entering the workforce, but it didn’t catch on in this case.

Yet the millennials I know are hard working self-starters. They are also farmers or ranchers and for them every workday is different. Maybe that is why even the children are anxious to work — they want to see what they can learn and apply in their daily lives. ❖