What Have Boomers Taught Their Children?

Teach Your Children

Many of us aging baby boomers can get downright teary-eyed with nostalgia when we hear the harmonic strains of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s classic Teach Your Children.

The words fill us with a sense of idealism that makes us shiver with memories: “Teach your children well…Your father’s hell will slowly go by…And feed them on your dreams…The ones you pick…The ones you go by.”

Back in the olden days, we’d sing it at the top of our lungs and then usually follow it with a chorus or two of If I Had A Hammer or some other Peter, Paul & Mary standard.

Standing in a circle around a campfire, we’d hold hands and promise each other that our generation would be different. Those were heady times. Only problem is too many of us copped out and moved on.

Is living simply worthy of effort or merely a leftover hippy ideal to which we pay lipservice?

  • Worthy Of Effort
  • Merely Lipservice
  • Lost Cause
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Mushroom Cloud Of Prosperity

On one issue, we sold our ideals with all the dignity of a twenty dollar hooker. We were going to live simply; we were going to live uncluttered lives, freeing us to love boldly, give generously and serve joyfully.

We were not going to become trapped in our parent’s obsessive social climbing pretensions; we were not going to make the comforts and security of suburbia the be all and end all of our lives.

Reality played itself out differently: Boomers have been both the inheritors and generators of the most explosive time of material wealth that our world has ever experienced. Inside that mushroom cloud of prosperity we burned the flags of our youthful exuberance to latch onto all the gadgets and fads available.

Our quest for simplicity got absorbed by our upwardly mobile assault on success, which in those giddy days of yore, we spelled suck-cess.

Seduced by the grabby hands of greed, we clutched at all the perks of consumerism as we plugged into technological wizardry. We became true believers at the temple of the computer chip, wholeheartedly swallowing every assertion that each new reality-altering breakthrough would improve the quality of our lives.

Serve Us Not Enslave Us

Obviously we have been the beneficiaries of many significant positive changes because of advances in science and electronics. However, we need to be discerning people, seeking to be cognizant of the repercussions inherent in every influx of innovations and inventions.

Every choice we make as a society comes with a price tag. Along with its wonders, this techno-info revolution that we are in the midst of has had its negative impact, setting into motion many moral, social, economic and psychological dislocations that we will spend a generation or more sorting through to come to terms with the ramifications.

Quite frankly, we need to comprehend that no matter how efficient or convenient our various combinations of hardware and software may be, it is all only tools to serve us not enslave us. With the potentially crippling societal destruction wrought by manmade computer viruses as evidence, we ought to acknowledge the folly of our blind reliance on mechanical devices.

Consumerism & Technology

Our growing unchecked dependence on machines is alarming and unsettling. It is apparent that the unique sense of the image of God within us is being damaged and distorted. We sit transfixed in front of screens in little cubicles well on our way to becoming mindless automatons unable to appreciate the sweet enchantment of being human. Our capacity for critical thinking is constantly being depreciated and we have kicked that dubious legacy all the way down the line.

By inextricably linking consumerism and technology, we have imbued our children and grandchildren with a surreal expectation of wealth, connecting it directly to personal fulfillment and satisfaction. The value system passed along by osmosis is entirely out of whack.

Is there credence to any of this or is it merely reactionary drivel from a loony kook crying in the wilderness?

A Handy Bit Of Truth

Our lifestyle choices have worked to diminish our spiritual dimension; we have become more fragmented and isolated from human contact than ever.

We have access to hoards of information, though we seem to have forgotten that it is not the information itself that is crucial, but rather, what we do with the information resources at our disposal that makes all the difference.

That’s a handy bit of truth to have. Did we bother to teach it to our children and grandchildren? We can communicate instantaneously with people all around the globe, but are we any kinder or gentler to each other? Do our children and grandchildren know from our example that individual relationships are far more important than achieving position, power or possessions?

In spite of our protestations to the contrary, our children and grandchildren live what they learn and they learn what we live. So, in all honesty, exactly what have boomers taught the generations that are to follow us?

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Comments 8 comments

coffeesnob 7 years ago

Just today...I met with the decision to TAKE TIME in face to face downright personal and interactive communication with someone who had an incredible loss and needed the warmth that can only come from a hug and a smile and a gentle voice. Honestly, at first my mind raced thinking all that was waiting on the computer to be done...Thank God I stopped and took the time. I would have greatly regretted otherwise. What a sober reminder of how much we need to be people who will let others into "my space" face to face, real time.

IslandVoice profile image

IslandVoice 7 years ago from Hawaii

I call myself a late bloomer baby boomer. It's a long story, but, i hope i'm not late in making a difference in my 5 yr granddaughter's development. My hub 'Our Little Artist' addresses a part of a legacy i'm trying to provide her. You write very well.

Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

coffeesnob - Thanks for the testimony. Your words are so very true: "What a sober reminder of how much we need to be people who will let others into "my space" face to face, real time."

Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

IslandVoice - Thank you for your kind words about my writing. May God bless you & your granddaughter as you make a difference in her life.

maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain

I certainly don’t think that you are a loony kook crying in the wilderness, if you are then there are quite a lot more of us about than you think. I thought your hub identified lots of areas that many of us baby boomers have concerns about. This is an excellent hub I found it well written and very thought provoking.

Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Thank you, maggs224. I appreciate your encouraging words of affirmation.

freecampingaussie profile image

freecampingaussie 4 years ago from Southern Spain

I really enjoyed this article as I think it is sad that so many children don't get exercise or real contact with people because of time spent in front of the box .

Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 4 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Thank you, freecampingaussie.

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