GenL

Marty Snyder once commented on an old blog post of mine (for once I’m asking you to please click the link and read my words) with a quote from Honest Abe…

In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and, to the young, it comes with bitterest agony, because it takes them unawares. The older have learned to expect it.

It’s no wonder that “Generation Y” is so dubious about us older farts; GenY’s are at the age of true independence and most of us simply desire to warn them about what’s coming down the road. But our words of warning are frequently viewed as meddling because they’re at the crossroads of independence – why listen if you believe your experience is sufficient to clarify your intentions?

When we were children and our parents told us not to touch the flame on the stove, we touched the flame and it burned. I know I touched it and my parents yelled at me; it was very unpleasant.

Back then, spankings and belts were, dare I say, common. I remember hearing those feared words, “Wait until your father gets home” after I tossed an eff bomb in my Mom’s direction. I stewed for nearly three hours and when Dad came home, I saw them huddle up, glancing my way every few seconds with stern looks on their faces. The outlook appeared very grim.

Dad called me over and said, “Go upstairs and get a belt.” I’m sure my lower lip was quivering but I turned and headed upstairs.

I came back with a very thin belt. Dad said, “Too small…go back a get a wider belt.” More quivering…

This took place three more times – “not wide enough” and me trudging upstairs to his closet. I later discovered that they were muffling laughs as I tried to “reason” my way out of a spanking or at the very least outsmart them.

In the end, I received a few swats with the BIG belt but they didn’t really hurt. I also received hugs and kisses and the words, “We’re doing this for your own good.” Sure.

What taught me a lesson was the agony of learning. But here I am at 51 getting my first real taste at parenting having stepped into a relationship that requires me to be more than a buddy. How do you folks do it on a regular basis? As I’m discovering now, teaching a lesson isn’t easy but taking shortcuts surely isn’t the way to do it. For their own good…

My parents viewed events like this as learning experiences – they wanted to prevent me from reaching out into the fire but they had a longer term belief that the lessons outweighed the pain and suffering. They let me fail…although I never truly appreciated being “burned.”

If we allow ourselves to see the true reason for parental or generational inderdictions, perhaps we’ll see that these come from a place of love and not control. The younger element of the #jobhuntchat generation believes they’re ready to be CEOs – and while a few might be – most shouldn’t even be spelling CEO for a few years. There is so much to learn about the financial, operational, and organizational realms of business and crowdsourcing alone won’t help you compress 10 years of business experience into a six month learning session.

What impresses me about Corn, Guru, ImSo, and Mizlee is that they respect those who came before them and they listen to learn. That’s not to say that they probably believe they know better than others young and old – I know I sure did – but they’re not so caught up in their media-annointed uniqueness of Y that they simply block out words of advice and counsel from people like me.

And to be completely candid, I’m in awe of what they’ve already accomplished. How I wish the older generation to me took the time to reach out and offer advice and counsel as we do now!

Agony is part of growing and there aren’t any ways to sidestep its impact. Listening is learning; trudging ahead with blinders on to others than oneself or one’s generation is not.

It doesn’t matter if you’re Y, X or BB, we’re all part of Generation Learning – GenL – until we die.

Now get over yourself…


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