All Parents Live in Two Cultures

August 27, 2011

The First Generation American is a favorite blog topic for me. I have talked from their perspective— of living in two cultures, of feeling, at times, like an “outsider.”

But it has occurred to me that all American-born parents live with a similar phenomenon, a similar duality, when it comes to their children. The infamous generation divide, if you will. The older generation shakes their head observing the culture occupied by their children. The parents feel like outsiders, knowing their children are creating the culture of the future, while the parents are the  culture of the past. The senior generation cannot close their eyes to the junior generation, their books, their vocabularies, their humor, fashions, changing interest in careers.

My generation remembers World War II, Rachel Carson, the A-bomb, the proliferation of colleges and universities, the rise of middle class affluency, the rise of consumerism, the Golden Age of Movies, the counter-revolution of the 60’s. The younger generation is removed from all that. I think the popular music of each generation, which always pervades the culture, demonstrates the flamboyant disconnect.

Change is the American constant. It always has been because this is a country always reaching for the new.  The younger generation does not have the mentality for following in their parents’ footsteps. Just the opposite. Therefore, it can be said that the older generation in America always straddles the generation divide of two cultures. Not the younger. They are the insiders.