Have you ever heard someone say “OK, boomer”? The phrase, popularized by millennials and Generation Z, exploded across the internet last year after a boomer criticized them in a video on social media. The phrase expresses the younger generations’ disdain for the older generation’s attitude toward them. It’s ignited generational conflict between older and younger adults, and both sometimes feel dismissed and disrespected. But what do millennials need from us?
My wife Susan is very creative in all aspects of her life, and that includes parenting our five children. There are times when I see her doing something creative with our kids and think, “I want to be a part of that!”
Many years ago, I watched Susan and our daughter Megan start trading a writing journal back and forth. After this went on for a few weeks, I noticed them laughing and talking more together. Pretty soon, Susan had these journals going with all of the kids. I felt left out of the fun and bonding so I took her idea and started journaling back and forth with our kids too! Of course, she didn’t mind, and maybe it was her plan all along to make it look so fun that I would practically beg to be a part of it, instead of telling me that I should do it.
Susan: We arrived at school, the kids got out the car, and I drove away, marveling that Megan had put into practice what we had discussed. I was so excited and wanted to encourage her to continue being patient with her siblings.
Then my excitement turned pensive. I began to worry that I would forget to praise her after school. I knew I would be distracted getting all the kids where they needed to be, finishing homework, preparing dinner…you know the drill. But I was not going to miss this opportunity to encourage her. I drove home and immediately wrote her a long note of praise and left it on her pillow. Why are indelible words on paper often more powerful than fleeting comments?