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Our Story Begins: The Generational Gap

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Our Story Begins
The Generational Gap

I heard an interesting line that sparked me thinking recently.

It was from Gene Cernan, the last man to set foot on the moon.

Cernan made the comment that we have hit an era where the current generation of adults weren’t even alive when we put a man . . . let alone many men on the moon.

There are certainly tons of differences in what things were like even when I was a kid compared to what my own children have seen.  Hearing that line from one of the last people to set foot on another planet certainly brought about a lot of differences when I spoke with my 21-year-old daughter.

There are the patented differences, the ones you see on all those Buzzfeed or Facebook feeds.

I rode in the back seat of a car without seatbelts, jumping up and down.  I climbed in the back window sill and felt the sun on my face.

But bear in mind: there were far more vehicle crashes where people died than in an era with airbags, seatbelts and other safety items.

There were three television channels. Okay…four.  PBS had Doctor Who and Monty Python and such.  But for all the episodes of Roots and MASH and what have you there was also Gilligan’s Island, Three’s Company and BJ and the Bear. 

The pluses were the lack of a 24-hour news cycle.  Sure we know more now.  But we didn’t have screaming pundits, massive speculation on breaking news or Kardashians.

But let me also tell you what is amazing.  That process we went through to get a man on the moon and television faster and more lively led to some amazing breakthroughs.

The phone or computer you are likely reading this on has more processing power than the Apollo 11 rocket.  When I asked a question and my mom said “go look it up” I had to go to the library, open an encyclopedia or science journal and actually look it up!  My mom had to drive me!  Now you say “Siri tell me how far the earth is from the moon” you get an answer.  Immediately.  That’s amazing.

Where our society may face too many selfies and too many would-be celebrities I also stay in touch with relatives and friends that would have fallen off my radar when I was a kid . . . because a free website makes it so I can keep in touch with them.  That same phone has a camera that makes it so I can take far better pictures on the fly than when I had film.  Plus I knew immediately what my picture looks like.  Do I like film better, is it going to last longer?  Sure.  Can I carry it with my phone, encyclopedia, computer, and calendar all in one thing?

No.

My kids’ generation has a gap in going outside and playing and running and not looking for something to entertain them constantly.

Yet it’s up to me to make sure they use those big brains and exercise their minds and bodies, not just stare at a little screen.

In that sense, when television was supposed to rot my brain as a kid, I’m not much different than my own parents.  My kids aren’t much different from me, now, are they?

What about you?  Do you embrace the differences in our generations?  Or do you fight them?  Do you help your kids appreciate or just bemoan the way things are?

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