We are the Silent Generation
We all know what a generation is. We talk about the younger generation, and they talk about the older generation. What we are each referring to is a group of people born roughly at the same time and whose group-life trajectory is similar. The Silent Generation is that group of people born between the years of approximately the mid-1920s to the mid-1940s, people within a defined population who experienced similar events within a given period of time.
When I refer to the Silent Generation, however, I'm really talking about the White citizens of the United States who lived through this era and have become the ones who define it. (African Americans, Latinos, and people in other countries had, as a group, a very different experience.) Among the general characteristics common to many of the Caucasian people born during this time are:
- There were fewer of them. During the Great Depression people could not afford to have children, and so they delayed pregnancies. Beginning in 1929, it lasted an entire decade.
- When they entered the workforce, they faced less competition and so rose through management ranks quickly. It helped that they had been raised to be obedient and loyal, not questioning their superiors.
- Having been raised during the depression, they took frugality as a given, saved money, spent little, and fixed what was broken before buying something new.
- These people became far wealthier than any generation that followed, and tend to be generous in their gifts to charities. They have set up college funds and trusts for their grandchildren; they take their children and grandchildren on extended family vacations.
- The Silent Generation became young adults during the McCarthy era, and became reticent to speak up fearing trouble. They value safety and security above all.
We are your parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. While we don't understand the values of the "younger generation," we do understand that you don't 'get' us either. So, I am breaking rank a bit here and speaking up. I care about you. I care about the world in which I still live. I want you to be safe and happy and be a contributing factor toward making the world a better place. At age eighty-five, I don't have that much time left. Please check out Silent Generation from time to time, and share your thoughts and ideas about the world we live in. Thanks.