How’s Your Gap?

Pew reports that the Generation Gap between adults and youth in the U.S. is wider now than it has been since the 1960s.  Here’s a key summary from the report on

Asked to identify where older and younger people differ most, 47 percent said social values and morality. People age 18 to 29 were more likely to report disagreements over lifestyle, views on family, relationships and dating, while older people cited differences in a sense of entitlement. Those in the middle-age groups also often pointed to a difference in manners.

So, if I read this correctly, the survey asked people how the generations differ.  Did the survey assume the difference, and then ask, or did they ask IF a difference was perceived, then probe further?

Wither way, I’m a bit skeptical of asking questions of one generation (any generation) to identify how they differ from other generations.  Seems to me this begs the question of difference, and probably magnifies it.

I beleive that, for the most part, the generation gap was created for marketing purposes.

So, here is another way to look at the Generation Gap for all of you 30 and ovver:

In what ways and on what subjects do YOUR OWN perceptions, opinions, attitudes, and beliefs differ from when you were an adolescent?

I suspect that if most of us 30+ would deal with this question, there wouldn’t be nearly as much gap between “us” and “them.”

5 thoughts on “How’s Your Gap?

  1. Many of us extrapolate from our own experience. I’ve never really felt at home in my own “generation,” so I might assume that there are others out there who don’t either. While there were a fair number of folks my age developing and expressing culture in a way different from my own ways, I think you’re right about the forces of market segmentation playing the biggest role.

  2. In growing up we all choose from the buffet of ideas that are available to us.

    If a younger generation doesn’t have something available that an older generation supposedly valued, it is because that older generation didn’t really value it to the point of preservation.

    Perhaps because the elders were told, but not shown.

    Perhaps that is the filter that each generation uses.

    • “If a younger generation doesn’t have something available that an older generation supposedly valued, it is because that older generation didn’t really value it…” methinks you are on to something here….

  3. Interesting comments, and I will have to think on them all. I will say from a philosophical point of view, I do believe we are living in one of the most radically transformative times in the history of Western society. We are moving out of a philsophical worldview that had it’s roots really in the Renaissance in the 12th century. (I say this because I truly believe the roots of the Modern/Enlightenment era are from the Renaissance.)
    We are moving out of being grounded in an epistemology based on scientific inquiry, into an epistemology of feeling. Truth is no longer primarily defined by scientific fact, but rather by emotional ‘facts.’ This is perhaps the greater causation for our current ‘generation gap.’
    I also find that the Church which adopted Enlightenment theory as a basis (both liberal and evangelicals did this), is having a time of it right now, as the larger culture moves to Post Modernity. The Church is caught up, while the Gospel is not. The Gospel is thankfully neither Modern nor Post Modern. We do have a current need to show how the Gospel transcends these philsophical eras.

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