Be Wary of Baby Boomers

Yes, I remember that I posted yesterday about civility.  I will keep this in mind today as I encourage you to be wary of Baby Boomers.

Do you remember that Sprint ad from a couple of years ago? It showed abusiness executive discussing the Sprint plan and then telling his assistant that joining the plan is his way of “sticking it to the Man.”

The assistant is shocked: “But, sir, you ARE the Man.”

“I know,” responds the executive.

So you’re sticking it to yourself,” his aide asks.

The executive says: “Maybe.”

So it goes for the Baby Boomers.  The generation that came of age in the 1960s has become that against which they once clamored for freedom: the man.

This came to mind because of a couple of things I have encountered recently.  One is Henri Nouwen’s classic The Wounded Healer. Another is general observations of  leadership over the past couple of years.

As I read Nouwen’s description of the generation coming of age in the late 1960s, of their dislocation in time and disconnection from either history or a future, I realized that similar assessments are made of those coming of age today.

Much current leadership urges followers to “trust us” with change.  The change that is urged though, is too often change needed more to keep struggling bureaucratic systems alive than change that would actually benefit the people.

Our culture as developed a mechanism that absorbs would-be protesters and protest movements under the guise of “having a voice.”  This is a euphemism for the lust for power.

The would-be protesters of the 1960s and 1970s are today the ones who are at the head of most major organizations and bureaucracies. Many of them are promising change; but their promises of change require, of course, that they maintain their power.

This week we Christians celebrate the life, death, and resurrection of One who refused to maintain power to effect change.

5 thoughts on “Be Wary of Baby Boomers

  1. I hear ya… I also am fearful of myself one day “becoming what I hope not to become”. One example (actually pre-baby boomer, but they are creeping closer) is the “sweet old folks” I know becoming the grumpy, whiny, complaining types that we all (and I’m sure they said this at one point) hope to never become.

    I guess we all need to video ourselves (for proof down the line) saying, “I will not become grumpy when I hit 70”, or along those lines, “I will not become exactly the type of person I told myself I’d never become” in terms of seeking power, security, keeping systems going just to ‘keep them going’ so they don’t lose their jobs, etc…

    Easier said than done I suppose…talk to me in 35 years (haha!).

    • Thanks for your thoughts. I wrote this as one who, according to some, is at the tail end of the Baby Boom himself.

      Power corrupts… they say, and we who once struggled from beneath or outside are now inside. What are we going to do? Will we remember what it was like on the outside, or beneath?

  2. Reminds me of the story of Jiddu Krishnamurti, who was about to be ‘coronated’ or annointed as the Prophet that the Theosophical Society/Order of the Star had been waiting for. At the ceremony at which that was supposed to officially take place (in 1929), instead he dissolved the whole organization, maintaining that “Truth is a pathless land,” that no organization should “be formed to lead or coerce people along a particular path,” and that “you have to be your own teacher and your own disciple.”

    So, if Jesus is also one who “refused to maintain power to effect change,” what would he think about the fact that there is a church/organization constructed around him?

    • I suspect Jesus would agree with the middle part of the quote from Jiddu Krishnamurti: ““be formed to lead or coerce people along a particular path,” but am not so sure about the first or the third.

      Interesting thoughts, though: I know on a MUCH smaller scale I have learned to try and walk a balance between inviting others to follow me and encouraging them not ONLY to follow ME.

  3. We must remember that we are encouraged to be wary of “the powers and principalities.” The institutions and “the man” have always been there. It is not the baby boomers, but the world. There was “the man” before the baby boomers i.e. J. Edger Hoover, and there will be after we are gone.

    Perhaps[s the anti-Christ is not a person or entity, but a system!

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