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A Generation Removed

Have you ever had the sense that you're old? Not necessarily that you are old, but that your ideas, values, and traditions are old? I do, I get that a lot. I feel young at heart, but when I see some of the behaviours of today's youth, I feel like I'm from another generation... and I guess, in a sense, I am.

Of most people I've asked who are my age or a little bit older, when I've asked about their grandparents, many of them are still alive. Their great-grandparents or sometimes even their great-great-grandparents were born in the early 1900s, or the late 1890s. My grandfather was born in the year 1900, and my grandmother not long afterwards. I am a full generation removed from others my own age, and in some cases maybe two generations removed.

I really do think this has made me different, and has directly affected my upbringing, my morals and values. I have a theory, and I know it's not unique - I believe that we are very much a product of our parents' upbringing. Likewise, they are a product of their parents' upbringing.

I do think that social interactions and societal norms will also have an influence, but we typically start out as being how our parents have raised us. Then we change - sometimes subtly, sometimes drastically - with each environmental exposure. As each generation passes into the next, their parents' morals, values, and traditions get a little bit more watered down; they get a little bit weaker. The original convictions that inspired the practiced behaviours are just not as strong as in the previous generation.

I am two generations removed from my grandfather - a man who was born in 1900. I know people who's great-great-grandfathers were born in the late 1890s. That's four generations removed. I am thus two generations closer to being raised with the morals, values and traditions of someone born in 1900.

It's made a difference. The most notable one, is in my proximity to those who lived through the Great Depression. It has been my observation, that the people who have the most trouble getting rid of things, are people who were strongly influenced by the Depression.

Back then, you just didn't throw things out. You kept them, in case you needed them one day. You accumulated stuff, and people didn't have a lot of stuff. Everything was precious. They learned to save. They had to save in order to make it through those times... and they passed on this value to their children. The importance of saving.

It's shown up in their children in so many different ways. The time of plenty followed after the war, and "things" became plentiful. And they weren't thrown out. It eventually became a problem for that generation. They had too much stuff. The talk shows and the reality shows became a huge hit on helping people to get rid of their stuff. Teaching them that not everything needs to be kept. Teaching them that it's ok to let things go. Somehow this has spawned a new generation of people who think that everything is disposable, but that's another story.

But that difference, is where you can really see how much more closely I've kept with my parents' and grandparents' values in terms of saving. In terms of stuff. I have that problem of wanting to keep everything. I know though, that I can't... but the waste of it bothers me so much. What if we need it one day? All that money that is literally thrown away...

It's hard to watch the waste sometimes, but I just have to remind myself of from where I've come. I am a generation removed... and that explains a lot.

I have written this entry for the Home Game of therealljidol for Week 30 - Season 7, Prompt #2. Home Game entries are here and current contestant entries are here for those who wish to read more. In fact, I strongly encourage it - we're down to the top 6! This vote determines the finalists where the bottom two are eliminated!

And of course, my favourite - joeymichaels' LJI Week #30 Links
Safety In Numbers - Atrophy - Disappointment - Road Trip - Get Over Yourself - Divine Intervention

If you read nothing else, you should read joeymichaels' entries, because he is seriously one hell of a writer, and I know he'd appreciate the traffic exposure, and would really like the comments.


Jul. 2nd, 2011 05:14 pm (UTC)
And thank you for coming by to read it!

I sort of suspect that the morals and values will also have to do with the proximity to first hand experiences. Since history has a tendency to repeat itself, I would not be surprised to find them returning in later generations, only to begin anew the cycle of them being watered down again.
Jul. 7th, 2011 03:05 am (UTC)
You very well might be right about things being cyclical. Though I do hope when the cycle begins anew, we don't find ourselves stuck with the morality of the Puritans! Now that could be scary. :-)

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