There’s little question that we boomers have been a blessed generation. Born to parents who’d suffered through the Great Depression and World War II and wanted better for their offspring, we were the lucky recipients of Lionel trains, ballerina dolls, Lincoln logs, and hula-hoops. Entire neighborhoods sprung up with the needs of young families in mind. The suburbs were filled with trees to climb, sidewalks ideally suited for biking and skating, and plenty of neighborhood friends. Certainly not every boomer enjoyed a blissful beginning… but many of us did.
Now, as I survey the world around me, it’s clear that we’ve all been through some pretty tough times as of late. Nevertheless, I’m even more struck by the sheer luck of our generation. Here are just a few of the reasons why we might feel extra grateful despite the formidable challenges that lie ahead:
As the first TV generation, we grew up with numerous shows that catered to our every childhood whim. Even if our own family wasn’t exactly like the Cleavers, we had several TV families to choose from who provided us with weekly life lessons and an insider’s look at a happy home life. Better yet, from time to time Miss Nancy would speak our name when she gazed into her magic mirror. Plus there was always the Mickey Mouse Club or the weekly Disney show to put hope in our heart and teach us to wish upon a star.
Many of us knew a college education was in our future. And, although we often used these institutions as places of protest, we were lucky enough to attend those hallowed halls of education. We graduated in previously unheard of numbers—almost always within our four-year time allotment and without going into massive debt.
We felt entitled to bend society’s rules to our liking. By way of our multiple movements and massive numbers, we did much to further our ends. No other generation can claim to have achieved the victories we accomplished in civil rights, women’s rights, and righting various other social inequities.
We expected to own our own homes, live better lives, and have more discretionary spending money than our parents…and many of us did. It is true that, in many ways, we were spoiled and felt a sense of entitlement. But, as a generation, we also wanted to make the world a better place—especially for the less powerful members of society.
Without a doubt we boomers were blessed to have been born into a very special time in history. We also stood for some pretty some amazing values. So, as we look forward to the year ahead, it might be a good idea to remember our generation’s commitment to the values of “peace,” “love,” and “power to the people.” In fact, as one very proud boomer, I say that’s a pretty great way to start off the New Year!