In 1923, the “theory of generations” was introduced in an essay by Karl Mannheim. He basically explains how a generation of young people experiences significant events, how those experiences shape their decisions, and those decisions shape future history and future generations. Their experiences also form their views about other generations. The Greatest Generation experienced the Great Depression and World War II. The Baby Boomer generation experienced the Cuban Missile crisis, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the Civil Rights era, and the first moon landing. But our generation has witnessed the War on Terrorism, the 2008 stock market crash, and the expansion of mobile technology.
There’s a pattern over time, from one generation to the next, where people view the generations that come after them as disrespectful or lazy. The generation before ours think we are a generation that can’t be listened to because of the choices some of our peers have made. This affects their opinions about us and how they choose to interact with us.
Here at CHS, current students are part of Generation Z, which is made up of young people between the ages of 6 to 23. Generation Z’s birthdates are between 1995 and 2012. Some people say things about us like we can’t be listened to because we are the generation that eats Tide Pods. We are told we aren’t good enough by the generation before us, and this is a cycle that has been going on for decades. For instance, over 62% of students felt like they have been judged by another person based off their age. 77% of teachers felt the same, but about 39% of teachers also say they have a negative stance on teenagers today. Similarly, 54% of community adults said people complained about their generation when they were younger, and 70.2% of those same individuals felt they had been judged by other generations at least some of the time. Despite that, 40.4% of the same community members had a negative view on teens today.
One student said, “I think older generations are disappointed in our generation. They make assumptions about us that are broad and not accurate. It think it is very unfair and biased.” This is important evidence because it shows that people of our generation don’t like the way they are viewed and they want something done about it.
One thing we can’t change is the generation before will always look down and judge us. We can change their views and opinions on us, but they will always find flaws--just like we will in the generation under us. One thing our generation can do, and is already doing, is take a stand on issues that generations before us have been afraid to speak about. Like when the Parkland shooting happened. The students there made a stand against gun control. If our generation can keep doing things like that then the generations before us will come to respect us.