The concept of a “generation” is attributed to social scientist Karl Mannheim (1920s). A generation is a group of people who are programmed by events they share in history while growing up. The result of this "programming" are cohorts of people who share a common set of memories, expectations, and values based on headlines and heroes, music and mood, parenting style, and education systems.
We're all familiar with the common generational clashpoints involving attitudes toward work, communication (the personal handwritten note vs texting), and expectations (immediate vs delayed.) But just take a few minutes and read these scenarios to remember-way-back-when (for you geezers) or to put current events in perspective (for you geeks).
Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fistfight after school.
1959 – Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.
2009 – Police called, SWAT team arrives, arrests Johnny and Mark. Charge them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it.
1959 – Jeffrey sent to office and given a good paddling by the Principal. Returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.
2009 – Jeffrey given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. Tested for ADD. School gets extra money from state because Jeffrey has a disability.
1959 – Mark shares aspirin with Principal out on the smoking dock.
2007 – Police called, Mark expelled from school for drug violations. Car searched for drugs and weapons.
1959 – In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.
2009 – Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.