Disclaimer: For practical reasons, I may use the term "baby boomer" loosely. To see the actual timeline that defines terms such as "baby boomer" or "millennial," go to the Center For Generational Kinetics' website.
Baby boomers (now in their fifties, sixties, and seventies) worked hard to ensure that their kids wanted for nothing. After they worked their asses off to provide us with everything we could possibly need, we grew up to be "entitled little shits" with no respect for our elders.
They bought houses, televisions and college tuition, but were they too busy making ends meet to teach us how to reach our full potential? Were our parents too distracted or too exhausted to converse with us in a meaningful way?
To them, our birthday presents represented all the hard work they put into supporting us. To us, it was just a Gameboy or, later on, an iPod. This is what F. Scott Fitzgerald warned us about. Corrupted by materialist values, our parents were seduced by the American Dream.
Time to stop chasing the green light, old sport.
They just don't get why their kids grew up to be so ungrateful. Perhaps we don't understand the value of hard work because our parents didn't take the time to help us understand them. This isn't our parents' fault.
To them, the American Dream is something you can touch, taste or buy. Though many of us grew up with material wealth, we still aren't happy.
It all goes back to our fundamentally flawed economy and culture. Our society over-exaggerates the value of consumption, but we don't condition individuals to be productive. The corporations in power want us to just buy their products without adapting or finding new ways of doing things. The more mindless we are, the more likely it is for a company, politician or idea to rise to power by unethical, inhumane or unsustainable means.
Baby boomers butt heads with the younger generations because they think we don't appreciate them. In truth, we don't appreciate the superficial values imposed on us. For the first time, our society is being more mindful about things that our parents never considered.
Just because we weren't raised in an age of mindfulness doesn't mean we should blame our elders for all our problems (never mind the title of this article). It's important to understand why consumerist culture left us ill-prepared for reaching our full potential.
But excuses will get us nowhere.
We can learn from the previous generation's mistakes while also thanking them for trying their hardest to make us happy. Like our parents, we will also have to work hard, but our efforts will go into creating cultural and societal change so that future generations will have both the resources and the understanding to reach their full potential.
And it will be priceless.