Have you heard that meme? I had not until recently. Since then I have shared it with my Boomer friends. It’s not a term of endearment or acquiescence. It is derisive.
In a New York Times article describing the deeper meaning of the phrase, it is described as the “digital equivalent of an eye roll.”
I’m a Boomer. (For a short lesson on delineation of the generations, read this. )
Born in 1957, I accept this particular categorization. On its own, “Boomer” simply tells of a time period when people were born. Today it carries its own connotation, as do the other generation monikers.
My fellow Boomers and I have had a good laugh at the younger generations. We look at them and think “Oh, you kids! Wait until you grow up.” Many of us have seen this talented young man sing about his generation and their foibles, nodding in agreement as we bounce along to a tune direct from our youth.
Derisive? What did I ever do to you, Gen X, Millenials, and Gen Z? We’re just trying to have a little fun. Oh, you kids, don’t take it so seriously. Wait until you grow up.
Then I read that article in the NYT. (As a disclaimer, I typically don’t read the NYT. It was a link from another article about … Boomers.) I came to realize a couple things.
Let me digress a little. I recently became eligible for Social Security. This was due to a birthday and the unstoppable march of time, not a disability or anything like that. I asked myself “how did that happen?” It was like one day I’m in my 40s then the next day I’m 62. One day I’m raising kids, handing over car keys and paying college tuitions, then the next bouncing grandchildren on my knee.
I watch TV and see all these actors and actresses in lead rolls and say to my wife “they all look so young!” I think I say that every night. I can’t remember, though.
I see mothers driving their kids around in their grocery-getters and find myself wondering how they get it all done. I look at my own millennial children, seeing the multitude of directions they are pulled every day. I see men in their 30s and 40s putting all they have into making a living for their families, struggling to balance the pressures of careers and families. I see students in their teens and 20s looking at a world that has been at war their entire lives and being told they have to go to college and be crushed under a mountain of debt.
Gen X, Millenials, and Gen Z have their hands full. They don’t need me treating them like children.
They have a lot of life to live, and a lot to learn. It will be up to them to right some of our wrongs, but at the same time to see that not everything we did was harmful to their future.
As Christian stewards, we have an obligation to take care of the gifts God has given us. What greater gift, what more awesome responsibility, than making sure those coming after us get to heaven.
If you’re offended by “Okay, Boomer,” remember where you were 30 or 40 years ago. Did you need a hand?