Do you believe the differences between generations?

A tweet I saw today inspired this post.

My husband is a little older than me and it’s just enough to put us in different generations. He’s in Gen X and I’m a Millennial. 

My husband is sort of a bleeding heart. He’s passionate about causes and politics and is skeptical of authority and people in power. He’s always seeking balance and keeps his work and home life separate. He’s a little rebellious and believes in giving our daughter freedom.

I love all of that about him. 

I’m definitely more high-strung. I’ve always been ambitious and I do a lot of work at home. I have a long list of side hustles. I’m all about multi-tasking and I’m the queen of the helicopter parents.

I think we fit the stereotypes pretty well even though there are really only five years between us.

Enter Gen Z

Almost two years ago I took a poetry class at a local university. It was in-person and just before the pandemic. 

I was nervous. Times have changed since I first went to college and I was by far the oldest person in the class. Most of my classmates were just barely young adults. 

As the semester went on, I became more and more impressed with these young people. They were so considerate and respectful. This was probably most visible to me when it came to pronouns. When I was younger, a person’s pronoun preference wasn’t really considered, but these students not only introduced themselves with their pronouns, they would ask you for your pronouns if they were unsure instead of assuming. Could you imagine the heartache this could have saved people if students did this when I was younger? It was amazing. 

I was so impressed with their writing as well. These students were open, thoughtful, and articulate. When they shared their poetry, they were wise beyond their years.

I was extremely apprehensive about sharing a poem I wrote about being an atheist, but apparently, it was only a big deal to me. Everyone was supportive and many came up to me after class to compliment my poem. Is Gen Z more secular? I really don’t think that would have gone so well when I was younger. 

Obviously, you can’t judge a whole generation by just one college class, but the tiny glimpse I got of Gen Z was incredible. Everything I was impressed with came so naturally to them. These were obviously things they were used to and expected.


Maybe these generation stereotypes aren’t always true, but you have to admit the time period you grow up in is going to affect your values.

The good news is I have hope for the future.


What generation are you in? Do you fit the stereotypes? How about the rest of your family/friends?


  1. Allison says

    I had to Google the definitions of the generations.

    I’m a “baby boomer”, though from the later part. My two children are Generation Y. My friends and acquaintances are spread all over the generational spectrum, and I can’t say I’ve noticed a lot of difference there.

    Through my children, I had a fair amount of contact with generation Y kids, mainly by driving batches of them 2 hours up to Quaker weekend retreats and back. I was quite impressed with them though; they interacted far more humanely than I remember experiencing when I was that age. They were quite up on current events.

    One place I have noticed a big generational difference is in the LGBT community (-ies?), especially transgender. The older trans people (e.g., my age) tend to be rather binary and conventional (some are pretty right-wing) and a little judgemental about the “right” way to “trans,” whereas the generation Z people are all over the map in terms of presentation and declared gender identity. They (and their non-LGBT friends) are far more open and accepting of all kinds of stuff. If you want to see an illustration, look at the National Geographic documentary Gender Revolution and skip to where they’re interviewing Renee Richards and Hari Nef together. The look on Hari Nef’s face as Renee Richards is expounding her views on gender is priceless.

  2. brucegee1962 says

    Most of the timeline cutoffs that I’ve seen put me as a boomer, but I identify far more with Gen X. I was only 7 during the Summer of Love — what could I have in common with the Woodstock people?
    Gen Z does seem determined to blow up the gender binary, and I say more power to them.

  3. John Morales says

    I was born in 1960.

    People have been people throughout, and their changing formative milieus haven’t changed their basic natures or fitness, though they obviously have influenced their perceptions and behaviours.

    That said, I think several factors (most saliently the cessation of leaded gasoline and easier access to good nutrition and general safety) have made it easier for younger people to be their best than ever before, in my experience anyway.

  4. Katydid says

    In a general, overall sense, generational descriptions fit…differences between people vary.

    I’m leading-edge Gen X and while growing up, it was obvious to me that advertisements and toys weren’t aimed at my generation. We followed the biggest generation in American history, and we inherited the broken leftovers at school; the wobbly chairs, the written-in books. We couldn’t go on field trips because the Boomers (our older siblings) smoked pot on their field trips. We were the “losers” because we went to high school and college through the Reagan Recessions and graduated into a downturn economy with few jobs that would let us support ourselves, so we tended to work a whole bunch of low-paying McJobs.

    We’re the Jan in the Brady Bunch; all attention was paid to the Boomers and to the Boomers’ children, the Millennials. Our kids are the Zoomers.

  5. Mano Singham says

    Having taught college students for three decades, I too found the younger generation to be respectful, considerate, and friendly and that they give me hope for the future.

    I am, however, wary of generational stereotypes, since they can lead to lazy thinking by teachers and false attributions. I published an article about it here.

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