In my last post, I asked: What comes in three’s in your lives? In our house, the Bat Superheroes – Batman, Robin and Batgirl – have a lot of importance. Recently, as a teacher, I’ve also thought about the three generations: X, Y and Z.
Generation X was first coined in the 1960’s to represent the first children of the baby boomers. I remember my dad looking at me and commenting, “Generation X.” At the time, I had no idea what he meant. Now, I understand that this generation was seen as a rebellious one; it was a group of individuals who really didn’t have their own identity. Instead, they had to carve their own success; they worked to build their names.
When Generation X grew up and began their own families, they gave their children – Generation Y – everything they could. The intention was not to spoil them, but they didn’t want their kids to go without; they did everything they could to help them be successful.
And, today, we see Generation Z, the one which does not just have everything handed to them, but the one which expects everything to be handed to them. In the span of fifty years, we have moved through three generations, from one which has that internal instinct to go after success to one which expects that success will be delivered – and probably by First Class Mail.
The difference between generations is represented by a game of street hockey. When growing up, kids (usually boys) would play road hockey for hours after school. They would take over the street with nets, equipment and players; when a vehicle was seen, someone would yell “Car!” and everything would be cleared instantly for the car, its driver and passengers. Last week, when turning onto a quiet street, I found myself driving towards a street hockey game. The boys stopped, and they looked at me, wondering how long it would take for me to get my car out of their way. That made perfect sense. Why should they move their game if I can move my car? Clearly, we are no longer an “I’ll do it” society but a “I’m not going to do it; you do it” one.
This brings me back to my own parenting style. As a running mom, I set goals and go after them. I have shown my boys the importance of hard work and the personal success that has come from it. I teach them that I need to get out of someone else’s way but that I can continue on that same path after. It might take a little more effort but the reward is that much greater.