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Generations, side by side

Jun 16, 2011

Generations, side by side

photo credit: scooteroo2002 photo licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 

By: Rhonda Vrell

I am a Generation X’er and proud of it. And maybe because I belong to a relatively small generation wedged between two larger ones, I’m very aware of the ways generations view themselves and the world.

So when I hear someone complain about another generation, I look at it as an opportunity to adjust their lenses for a slightly better focus.

How do our differences manifest themselves when we work together as Kiwanians? First, we interpret words and statements differently.

As Greg Hammill states in FDU Magazine Online: “When a Boomer says to another Boomer, ‘We need to get the report done,’ it is generally interpreted by the Boomer as an order, it must be done and done now. However, when a Boomer says to an Xer, ‘This needs to be done,’ the Xer hears an observation, not a command, and may or may not do it immediately.”

Can you image how this situation will work out?

What about when a Greatest Generation Kiwanian says to an Xer, “We want you to attend meetings regularly”? This may mean every meeting to the older Kiwanian, but “whenever convenient” to an Xer. Think about a Gen Y’er saying, “Let’s discuss that” to a Boomer—and then starting the discussion with texting and social media.

To extend service to every age, we have to re-evaluate our long-held views of communication and how things have always been done. The ways we choose to serve may change, but the desire to serve has not. 

What will you do to make the spirit of service cohere among your Kiwanis club’s various generations?
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