August 22, 1977.
That's right people, I'm generation X. Can we talk for a second about all the awesome things about being generation X?
- We watched Michael Jordan
- We played the Nintendo first
- Hip hop...you're welcome
- Cell phones...get at Zach Morris
- We knew the dance to Thriller before you did
I mean come on, the world would be drastically different without these things.
We also stand in the gap between a significant leadership battle. On the one side is the Boomers and on the other the Millennials. So, what's the deal with that? Let me use the example of building a brick house and the house represents a life.
The Boomer went to build a house. They chose their bricks wisely. One brick was a career. Another brick is family. Another one is church. Another is community. Another one could be hobbies and so on the Boomers built their house (like building a brick house...leave your Commodores comments somewhere else.). To build a house of bricks their has to be a mortar and the mortar in the house the Boomer builds is Security.
After all, Boomers have witnessed some crazy things. Some saw the end of the depression. Some remember the day their President was assassinated. Some can remember when the neighbor boy was killed in Vietnam. They've practiced bomb raids in elementary school. The Boomers have experienced things the rest of us can't even imagine.
Now, the Millennials are going to build a life also represented by a brick house. The bricks they choose are not different than the Boomers. Career. Family. Church. Community. Etc. The bricks are not different but the mortar is significantly different. The mortar on the Millennials house is Connection.
After all, they are the generation of Facebook, Skype, Xbox live, etc... Almost every successful product marketed to Millennials is around connection. The world to them is flat and travel isn't required for connection. Their defining tragedy is the shooting at Columbine High School where two of their own felt disconnected and retaliated with violence (I certainly want to acknowledge that today is 9/11, which is a tragedy that defined all of us).
But here is the issue at hand: Generation X is doing nothing more than standing and watching. We're watching a battle play out between security and connection. Since my background is in Ministry to high school kids I can use examples that reflect what I mean.
A Boomer asked me the other day, "With all the technology and distraction, what are we going to do to help as many kids find personal salvation?"
Security. A Boomer wants to know how many kids can have eternal security, they measure it.
A Millennial recently said, "I'm going to stop volunteering in the ministry because I followed the leader on Instragram and they didn't follow me back."
Connection. A Millennial wants to know they are seen, heard, and a part of something bigger than themselves.
Which generation deserves the criticism? Generation X.
My generation is trying to slide by. We are trying to fit in. We don't want to cause any waves and we are looking to get ours and get out. We will gladly watch two other generations battle it out for control. We don't speak up because we never really had to fight for anything. I think we will get to retirement and regret not creating more waves.
But what the world needs for us is to be connecters and leaders. We need to be the ones to say to the Boomers we respect the security you've built. We need to be the ones to say to the Millennials we love your spirit of connection. But most of all we need to mediate the gap instead of standing in it. This could be our great call, this could be our great work - To take what the Boomers have built and make it last and take the connection the Millennials want and give them a seat at the table.
Could this be our best work? If it is, we better get our stuff together.
What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts about this in the comments!