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THE GOOD LISTENER, A BABY BOOMER TRAIT

Making The Effort To Show You Care.

SAM_0075

Portlandia’s Face With No Ears. Can You Hear Me?

Sometimes you come across a great notion and wonder if anyone else notices what you noticed.

Notions are trickstery like that. What you see in your mind is all that matters. Does it matter?

The mattering starts when you write it out, when you lay it down for examination, observation, and greater realization.

You have a vision of loveliness, then it goes away.

Not to harsh the buzz, but what if Einstein had talked out his theory of relativity over a few beers with his pals?

What if you saw things as they could be and kept quiet, not asking why to the way things are?

As usual Baby Boomers occupy a unique slot in America for speaking up.

There’s still lots of them and they believe they’re the last generation to see The Real America as young people.

That’s right, the knobby gray haired person you see fumbling a debit card transaction was once a young charger.

The youthful masses raised on social media see the world through a lens of their personal choices.

“War? Disaster? Famine? Not on my network. Sorry.”

Compare a sixteen year old today and a sixteen year old in 1966.

What did the kid from the mid-60’s know?

The Gabor sisters were the eras Kardashians.

Gomer Pyle was still in the closet, unlike Sheldon Cooper’s Big Bang Theory.

Walter Cronkite told them how it was on the evening news, but young men already knew what it was: if they didn’t get into college they’d get drafted.

What better learning motivation than, “If you don’t study and pass this test, you’re going in the Army.”

Thank you, teacher.

The youth of ’66 dug hard to find balanced opinions on women’s rights, gay rights, and the religious right. They were all there, just not as newsy as today.

That kid didn’t live with regular school shootings, hyper-attentive parents, or pharmaceutical food poisoning. He did get JFK in Dallas, mother got her little helper, and scientists focused more on jungle defoliants.

In that far away world people ignored the threat of eating heavy metals. Who didn’t love that TV dinner in the aluminum tray?

Environmental pollution? Come on. If something would flush down the toilet, it went in the toilet.

Leaded gas was the only gas. Pumping Ethyl was a favorite joke.

Empathy for youth today means skipping the young and dumb stereotypes. It didn’t work for yesterday’s youth either.

What did work was less chatter and distraction, fewer choices and less confusion .

For example: devices like smart phones, tablets, and lap tops in the hands of children show a kid’s ability to work with it. A baby pushes a button? Instant genius.

The kid in 1966, and the babies from the same time, had the same capacity as today’s kids.

Instead of streaming video filling up intellectual space, 60’s kid had friends in the neighborhood. Flesh and blood subbed in for reflective screens.

The Boomer Era spans the greatest technological advances since the first successful wheel roll. (While some see Boomers as old enough to have pushed the first wheel, it’s not true.)

The social wheel? Yes, and that’s where the important lessons lay.

Take a stand. By all means, find what you care about and take a stand with your friends. Just be sure of the foundation you’re all on.

Boomers learned that the long hair at the peace rally isn’t the same as the ponytail-wig hat guy at the party. Take a look under the lid.

Find someone you care about and show you care, which┬áisn’t a green light for a naked Woodstock mud slide in the backyard.

It is a promise that you’ll learn someone’s default settings. If you choose someone to step up for with kindness, and they kick back?

You’ll want to know sooner than later.

Find friends who know how to listen without showing their counseling experience.

Swing a USB cord in a roomful of Boomers and you’ll whip an EST vet, a self-help guru follower, or at least a few who’ve been to marriage counseling.

Good listeners know how to tune in and cut the static, which remains a growing concern.

If Boomers question the difference between organic and GMO, who’ll care if a kid eats the plastic wrapper and popsicle stick instead of the popsicle?

If Boomers question the value of clean air and water, who’ll care when the birds lose their feathers and all fish make the DO NOT EAT list?

Especially for you Grand Boomers: Listen to your kids through the chatter. Do they talk about the amount of chatter in their lives? About the stress chatter creates?

Do they talk about schedules and diets and lists?

Listen to them.

Keep listening.

This is called engagement, so be engaging.

You’re not done, Boomer. Keep an open ear.

SAM_0079

Listening To Portlandia

 

 

About David Gillaspie
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