We all love a good episode of Saturday Night Live, right? I mean it knows just the right nerves to hit and still make you laugh at the same time. I remember watching an episode a while back and boy, oh boy did it touch on every existing stereotype as it relates to Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials. Stereotypes ranging from millennial views on healthcare, to the beliefs that Baby Boomers think they know it all. This episode gave the perfect example of how stereotypes takes us down a destructive path, if we allow them. Since I'm on the topic of TV shows, I might as well talk about my best friend, Ellen and the episode where she played a game titled Baby Boomers vs. Millennials. It showed how well generations DON'T know each other. I believe there are three things we can do to help change that: let go of our ego, be open to teach, and in all things get an understanding.
We've all experienced different things, but we're still human. Deep down we crave social interaction, understanding, love, and the desire to feel valued. We have different lingo, our values are different, as well as our interests. Some of us love technology, while others wish it never existed. We approach situations differently, some of us are more passive, while others are aggressive and constantly make sure their voices are heard. While it's challenging to find the desire to learn the newest dance (I'm not even sure what dance that is now), we all have so many valuable things to teach one another and in turn have the power dispose of the nasty stereotypes that are said about all generations.
Don't Divide, Just Conquer: 3 ways
My goal will always be directed towards eliminating stereotypes towards aging. It creates a divide between us and promotes ageism. Xscape once sang “what I need from you is understaaaanding. How can we communicate, if you don’t hear what I saaaay?” Although they were referring to something else, it can still apply to this post! Communication and actually being open to hearing what people have to say is how everyone can be on the same page and do some really dope stuff together! As I mentioned earlier, there are a few other things I want to briefly discuss:
1. Let go of the ego: Bey (Beyoncé) admitted to how big her ego is, but how many other people have a huge one as well? The last thing some of us want is someone's unwarranted advice or opinion. That can easily make an ego swell, but guess what? There’s really no way around what people try to offer you. We instantly think a person who gives us unsolicited advice/opinions just wants to talk, be a "know it all," or brag about how they've helped us. Why is that the first conclusion we draw? Ego. Our ego doesn’t always allow feedback because of how we feel it will make us look. Let go of the ego. Let’s work on being more open, filter the good and bad unwarranted feedback, assume positive intent, and keep it movin’.
2. Be open to teach: My Pastor, who is 61 and a baby boomer, recently went outside of her comfort zone and started doing Bible study on Instagram (IG) Live. A common stereotype about baby boomers is they don't deal with technology, or they have no interest in social media. Is that true? I'd think not, considering those who belong to the baby boomer generation at my church were all for creating an IG account, with the help of millennials, and they consistently tune in to the weekly Bible studies on IG Live. We label older generations as being "out of touch," or not wanting to participate with innovations, but what if the only thing stopping them (or any other age group) was YOU opening the door for them to join something new.
3. In all things get an understanding: That's a Biblical tip right there! We avoid getting understanding at all costs. It's easier to assume that someone's actions or behaviors are out of ignorance. Nina Simone said she was a soul whose intentions were good and she didn't want to be misunderstood, there's a ton of other folks out there with the same thoughts. So, why not work to understand someone? Learn about a person's background from his/her mouth, not society. Learn why there's a difference in your work ethic and someone else's. Understand that your way is not the only way. I could go further, but you get the gist....get an understanding before you draw your own conclusions (sheesh, preaching to myself right there).
With all that's going on in the world, the last thing we need is to be against each other. I know it's easier said than done, but I genuinely believe that if we put the work in and ignore the definitions society has given us, we could swim together in a pool of positivity. Generations are categories of people. Some of these people may have the same taste in music, like a specific style of clothing, or given in to the latest trends, but that doesn't mean unity can't exist.
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