I've been re-reading a couple of books (Generations: The History of America’s Future for one) by William Strauss and Neil Howe as a result of seeing several posts on Facebook about the uneasy relationship between Millennials religion and politics. This book was published in 1991 and because I was born in 1946 I especially like the sections on the relationship between Boomers and Millennials. The description of Boomers as they age is not flattering. The authors see us as tending toward people who will “grow increasingly pompous intolerant uncompromising snoopy and exacting of others.” Not only that but we will likely be “an ascetic elder glowering down from Sinai looking upon himself as a critical link in human civilization without whose guidance the young might sink into Philistinism.” Of course an even worse scenario would be like that described in the Old Testament when two aging generals – Abner and Joab – decided to have a number of their young soldiers fight each other to the death for sport. Hopefully ” we will find another way to engage this generation.
It’s even likely we would have some redemptive qualities in that a segment of Boomers will find it in themselves to become discerning and helpful wisdom figures who are secure enough to play the role of a “repository of culture” the reminder of stable deeply rooted values and…to age elegantly.” I bring this up because I see more and more aging Boomers interested in the work of organizations like Praxis Echoing Green ” Ashoka and other organizations helping to support and accelerate the missions of “social entrepreneurs” who are themselves heavily drawn from the Millennial generation.
In a real sense” they are our investment in accomplishing what we see as our unfinished work as radicals of another era. "Elderly Boomers will see in this generation (Millennials) an effective instrument for saving the world. Having themselves screamed against duty and discipline when young Boomers will now demand duty and discipline from post adolescents. They will get both. In return old Boomers will shower youthful heroes and heroines with praise and reward. Inevitably rising Millennials will start feeling the intoxication of hubris. They will resist elders – Boomers included – whom they perceive as unwilling to relinquish private and material privilege…and will rise up against whomever they perceive to be enemies of community solidarity and public action…Assuming the crisis turns out well ” Millennials will be forever honored as a generation of civic achievers."
I would encourage the Millennials to take advantage of the desire of aging Boomers to support their initiatives and projects – even if our motives are more than a bit self-serving. There are many Boomer donors who would love to find a way to be engaged with the exciting work of these Millennial entrepreneurs.