I am a GenX -er and I would like to apologize to all of humanity for the rest of my generation. Or at least a good portion of it. For you see, these are the people who gave birth to, and are raising, GenZ. Myself included. I used to be proud to be a proud, card-carrying member of the Gen-X society, but not so much these days and here’s why.
First, let’s start with defining GenX:
Generation X (1966-1976) (info courtesy of HowMuchDoI.com)
- Also known as the GenX is the first generation to follow the Baby boomers.
- This is also the first generation to be named and defined by marketers.
- Many of its members are aware of their generational title.
- Came of age in the ’80s and ’90s with the Reagan era, Challenger explosion, fall of Berlin Wall, Persian Gulf War, economic recession.
- The all-knowing spoiled kids of the Baby Boomers yet with fewer ambitions and less driven to change the world.
- The generation X kids are called the “latchkey” kids, exposed to daycare and family instability and this has probably shaped how they regard their family life and how the next generation, Y, is being educated. – The best educated with 29% obtaining a bachelor’s degree or higher (6% higher than the previous generation).
Note the two lines that I italicized in bold.. I used to take great offense to the The all-knowing spoiled kids of the Baby Boomers yet with fewer ambitions and less driven to change the world line and still do. I think our generation is VERY driven.. maybe not the same way our parents were, but driven to start our own companies.. driven to know that “the man” is not going to take care of us so we do it ourselves.
Our parents raised us that we had to work for what we got. Not everyone could win the game but everyone should be a good player. You didn’t lie, cheat or steal and you respected your elders. You said please and thank you, yes sir, no sir and you knew exactly how many days you had to write (yes, with your HANDS) a Thank-You note to your Great Aunt Loyce.
We dressed based on what Seventeen magazine said and obsessed over The Preppy Handbook to make sure we were living like the Buffy’s of the world where. Nothing came between our Calvin’s or Gloria Vanderbilt’s, we had every color of Izod and Polo known to mankind and said things like “fer sure” and “totally” while we cruised the streets listening to Bananarama and Van Halen. We were the generation that started playing soccer and, unlike most of our parents, 85% of us went to college where we joined sororities and fraternities getting our law degrees and becoming doctors or high level executives. We were the first generation to move away from our hometowns with many ever coming back.
And fellow Gen-Xers, I honestly think this is where we as a generation have derailed. I don’t know what we’re trying to make up for in our childhood but judging the way many are raising their kids, we have lost our cotton-picking minds.
I have watched in awe at how over-indulged my kids friends are and how many of my own peers stand there with the stain from the ink of cash on their own hands. These kids are wearing Tori Burch shoes, carrying Michael Kors purses and getting brand new cars like Mercedes and BMWs for their 16th birthdays (some even before they turn 16) and Christmas. Manicures, eyebrow waxes and full body massages are expectations, not special treats. Proms have gone from a rite of high school passage to a thousand-dollar venture – complete with “promposals” that make some marriage proposals look lame. Sweet 16 Birthday Party budgets are more than most of us spent on our weddings.
Failing grades are met with their parents threatening to sue the school (because Daddy’s a lawyer, natch), same goes for not making the team. They have no boundaries, open-ended curfews (is it really a curfew then?) and if you want a cocktail, there’s a parent who’s willing to shake it up and pour it over ice. You know..because that parent wants to be the cool one. They won’t think twice to take your kid to a Rated R without first asking permission.
I have yet to meet one kid who “deserved” a $400 handbag or brand new car. I’m sorry but it will be a cold day in hell when one of my kids will have a nicer purse, better shoes or more expensive car than me. Unless, of course, they suddenly become overnight sensations on Tumblr, Vine or SnapChat. And then I will expect the very same thing from them for the same reason they expect it from me. Just because.
This Christmas, after I heard about the 4th or 5th or 10th kid who’d gotten a car for Christmas, I threw it out to my Facebook friends and the responses were what I would expect from my friends. I am imagining the ones who were ‘guilty’ of over-indulging opted not to respond…