I was having a conversation with my nephew, of the Millennial generation (b1982-2003?), at Thanksgiving dinner and realized that there’s a major misunderstanding between the Millennials (Mills) and the older generations. The Mills don’t want to listen to the older generations because we are
- so cynical
- constantly communicating that America is doomed.
I want to dispel the rumor that America is doomed. Perhaps we are up-a-creek without a paddle; however, this is normal. We seem to find are way up that creek like clockwork, every 80 years or so, since this country was formed. America will come out on top and we as a country are headed to a new and better future. What I have been trying to communicate, since 2003, to the Mills and anyone else that would listen is that
- we were headed into a financial crisis and an era that can be defined as Winter;
- the Winter era would be very difficult and life as we knew it would change.
What I haven’t communicated is that we will be fine when this is over. The cycle will continue from Winter to Spring. The Spring era may not come until 2024 but it will come. The Mills’ have many talents, one being, they fix society from a civic stand-point. Where boomers brought focus to the individual and rebelled against their civic-minded fathers (the GI generation) the Mills will rebuild the broken systems the boomers and Xers left behind but with concentration on community, not the individual. Furthermore, the Mills will soar at math and science. There’s been much consternation to the depletion of mathematicians and scientists over the last 30 years.
Yet, this is a normal cycle that can be found inside the archetype of each of the four generations that are born over and over again in the US. Some generations are good at writing, some are good at math, and some are entrepreneurs, some are medical wizards. If a generation is defined as about 20 years in length and there are 4 different types of generations born in the US in a cycle that repeats every 4th generation then you can see how we could deplete those specific areas of expertise that each generation excels at. Today, we are low on mathematicians and scientists…but not for long. Looking back my conversation with my nephew, on Thanksgiving, I realized that my part of the conversation was laced with the usual cynicism and anger at the elite. “America is screwed and things are going to get much worse when austerity hits”, I said. My nephew replied, that he doesn’t believe that America is going down, that the sky is falling etc. That’s when the epiphany came.
Well of course America’s not going down, I thought. Suddenly our conversation was interrupted, the night rushed by and I wanted to finish the conversation with him but found myself, wife, and kids saying goodbye before I could talk with my nephew. Well, here’s my chance to finish that conversation. My message to my nephew, and the rest of anyone who reads my writing is as follows: We aren’t doomed. Generational and Turnings theory is the only theory I’ve found that do a great job at predicting the future of society. Those theories show that we will not only survive but will grow, expand, flourish, and life will go on in America under the same systems we’ve used and tweaked since 1776
The Mills will become scientists and mathematicians. They will bring civility back to America and by 2025 this country will not look the same, it will look better. We will sacrifice individual rights in the process because that’s what a Hero/Civic generation (the Mills) does. They build community to the extreme at the sacrifice of the individual.
For better or worse, that’s the cycle. Perhaps the cycle betters itself after each passing, for our society does not grow linearly? I believe both to be true. Lastly, yes, the next 15 years are going to be difficult. That’s why they call it Winter.
How will we see it through? The Millennials will offer their expertise in teamwork, and make sacrifices of their lives if called upon to fight a war; the Xers will offer leadership through pragmatism while protecting the new generation The Homeland Babies (b2004?-2021?), and the boomers will “define the acceptable behavior of other nations narrowly, and the appropriate use of American arms broadly.” (Generations p302)
Hope this helps, James Goulding 12/07/2010