The older generation is often the butt of many jokes on television, movies, and social media. We envision an old man with pants up to his armpits screaming “Get off my lawn!” we’re viewed as feeble, weak and stubbornly set in our ways.
We need to realize that we are a treasure trove of wisdom and experience. Here are a few explanations of why the older generation — those in their late 50s and 70s plus — should be treated like gold.
Why? Work Ethics
Boomers believe in hard work — We worked hard, and paid for things we wanted in cash. We also opened the way for more women working outside the home. The two combined incomes meant more boom in purchasing power, investing and economic growth. Many are opting to delay retirement well past the standard 65 retirement age.
Millennials are the opposite — they want instant gratification and recognition, but at the same time they want flexibility in their job — working when, where and how they want instead of the 9 to 5 grind.
The two generations can work together by mentoring each other inside and outside of the workplace. Create workshops or meetups where the older generation shares their knowledge of management, work habits, and business start-ups, while the youngsters can share their knowledge of new technology and social media. Millennials are creative, inventive and crave entrepreneurship, but often don’t know where to start, this is where the baby boomers can help, with advice, finances & connections.
The older generation was born to parents who lived through the Great Depression and two World Wars. They learned to save, recycle and reuse things. The “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” motto came about in the mid-60s. They grew up knowing how to take care of everything — their cars, cooking, and repairs.
On the other hand, the younger generation is a “throw-away” society. They want the next new thing and rather throw things out even though it still works, is repairable, or can be reused differently.
Even though Millennials are highly educated with college degrees, they are severely lacking in social and life skills — from speaking face to face, car and home maintenance, to being able to cook.
Even though there’s a surge in DIY videos on Social Media and YouTube, this is nowhere near the true experience of hands-on learning. Millennials should start with their own families — grandparents, uncles and aunts, and older cousins. These people are often willing and delighted to share their knowledge with their younger relatives. Spread out to your neighborhoods, local “hangouts” and just ask them. “Hey I see you working on your car, can I watch please?”
Baby Boomers changed almost every part of American society, from music and films to technological advances and civil laws. They started the Civil Rights Movements and Women Feminism ideals. They rioted against the Vietnam War, against segregation and racism.
The Gen Y’ers continue this revolution with technological leaps and bounds, medical advances, and scientific discoveries, as well are still fighting for civil rights for minorities, gays, disabilities, and social causes.
It’s hard to believe that after over 40 years of the Civil rights movement, protests continue today. Today’s youth are using many different and more violent tactics than their grandparents used. These new protest groups need to meet with their older counterparts — either by hosting a forum or town hall meeting — and gain sage experience on what tactics worked or didn’t work, teachings of civil right leaders of the time, and what they went through compared to today’s standards — lynching, segregation, abuse, and the list goes on.
Baby Boomers are a gold mine of experience, knowledge, and perspectives and are willing to share these with the youth of today. 59% of the older generation are involved in volunteering and believe that retirement is the time to be active, involved in the community, learn new activities, and set new life goals. The Millennials want new experiences, desire to live their lifestyle now, and have short-term goals instead of long-term ones. These two groups can combine to match each other’s needs and it’s beneficial to both parties’ physical and mental health.