…according to Baby Boomers.
I was born at the tail end of the Boom in 1958. All the time I was growing up, I heard Boomers announcing that they were the Voices of a New Generation and that you should not trust anybody over 30. Our parents, who had done nothing except overcome the Depression, defeat Hitler, defy Stalin and Mao, and provide for us the strongest economy in the history of the planet were the worst. The worst. They need to learn to shut up and listen to us and our precious, precious Voice. We had grown a conscience. We had discovered sex. We had–suddenly, and by a strange coincidence at the same time middle class whites were being drafted for Vietnam–found a social conscience about War. We were the Best. We totally cared about women’s right and especially the right of men to tell women to shake that thang–and to tell them to shut up and take it (and abort it) when we behaved like Donald Trump, the apotheosis of our generation.
Now we are getting pretty long in the tooth. So we now turn the fire of our superior wisdom to our children, especially Millennials, who we are eager to inform they are the worst, just the worst:
The Boomers who dominate the Party of Predators that is currently eating its young and stealing their future as we preyed on our parents love to mock Millennials as slackers who mysteriously are “killing” everything good in the world. None of this is true in my experience. Millennials are kind and hard-working and incredible patient with Generation Narcissus, even as that generation robs them and lectures them on their need to be more like us.
The gospel, like Judaism before it, counsels the old to not embitter the young and the young to respect the old. There are reasons for such commands: they do not come naturally to us. And we are a culture that is at war with the gospel–and therefore with such commands from God. There is no command to obey the law of gravity. But with higher matters, we are given a choice so that we can be willing participants in the work of redemption. If we obey the command we receive the rewards proper to our obedience. Paul tells us:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Eph 6:1–4).
Boomers failed to honor their parents and are now in the process of selfishly dishonoring their kids while we continue our never-ending voyage of narcissistic self-discovery. It will be far more than we deserve if they don’t rub us out the moment we are too feeble to change the Beatles CD. Fortunately for us, Millennials seem to me to prize very elementary virtues such as kindness and, well, just not wanting to hurt people. It’s one of the reasons they are the most prolife generation in history, no thanks to the scandalous and brutal witness of Boomer “prolife” Christianists. Here’s hoping that the Holy Spirit draws them back to the Church my generation has done so much to besmirch and stain with its Christianist adoration of money, pleasure, power, honor and violence.
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a curse.” (Mal 4:5–6).