Category Archives: Baby Boomers

Keeping America’s Social Fabric Intact

Securing the Legacy of the Greatest Generation – Part Four


In Part Three of this series, Get Out of the Villages!, I talked about Baby Boomers and others stepping up to make a positive difference with America’s kids today as a desperately needed contribution in Repairing America’s Social Fabric. Certainly, that desperate need exists in other aspects of American culture too. With this article, I want to acknowledge an instance of this job getting done through keeping America’s social fabric intact. It’s the exemplary job of role model and true American hero being done by a fellow-Baby Boomer, the leader of the Lieutenant Dan Band, Gary Sinise. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under America’s founding ideals, Baby Boomers, community, Making a Difference

Get Out of The Villages!

Securing the Legacy of the Greatest Generation – Part Three

Going Out With a Boom

Question: How do you eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time. That’s the approach I’m taking in tackling the question I raised at the end of Part Two in this series – i.e. How do we go about meeting present-day challenges through reacquiring Greatest Generation values that, for the most part, are missing today?


The “bite” I want to chew on with this article contains the values associated with how we raise our children. In Part Two of this series, I exemplified the different values that made up that part of our social fabric in the heyday of the Greatest Generation with the following overview:

“Children were raised by their families. When they got up in the morning, both Mom and Dad were there to parent them and care for them. When they went off to school, they went with kids from families in the neighborhood who knew each other. Their transportation to and from school was on foot through neighborhoods where a caring adult was present in most homes. Their teachers and other school staff knew the kids and their families. The same was true with extracurricular activities. At the end of the day, there was no warehousing of kids at a “daycare”. Babysitting was an exceptional activity, typically to afford parents a couple of hours to go out to dinner, etc. and even then, the babysitting was usually done by a relative or neighbor who knew the kids well.”


Wow! How can we possibly reacquire a set of values like that, values that have become so very different today?! I suggest that, to find the answers related to this, we need to begin by adopting the attitude the Greatest Generation took in facing the overwhelming challenges brought on by WWII. In Part One of this series, I described this as a mindset that, unlike today, meant the average Joe or Jane lived their lives with a true other-oriented sense of community, rather than just being focused on “What’s in it for me? When our nation was threatened by the Axis nations of WWII, that mentality was evidenced through everyone putting their personal aspirations on hold for as long as was necessary to meet the crisis at hand.

That, obviously, was a winning mentality. But, perhaps, you’re thinking, “Of course, subordinating one’s own dreams was necessary to deal with the plight represented by WWII but we’re not coping with anything on a par with that today.” To that, I would say, “Really?!” Just think of the many ways, since the Greatest Generation were in their prime, in which our social fabric has unraveled, bearing tragic results on the level of the topic I focused on in Part Two of this series … School Shootings. Just looking at three of the five areas I outlined in that article, to exemplify what communities were like prior to the unraveling I mention, consider the ongoing deterioration of these things: Continue reading


Filed under Baby Boomers, community, Making a Difference

Securing The Legacy Of The Greatest Generation


June 6, 2014, marked the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the operation that began the Allied invasion of German-occupied Western Europe,ultimately leading to an Allied victory in WWII. Revisiting the details of this phenomenal event, again, served to remind me of the incredible accomplishments of the Greatest Generation, especially their gaining that victory in the face of overwhelmingly impossible odds. This led me to consider how we are doing with the priceless legacy we have been entrusted with through that generation’s victory and beyond that, to consider what lessons remain for us in their accomplishments that could lead to our gaining victory over today’s issues that may seem just as overwhelmingly impossible.

During the 70th anniversary celebration of D-Day, I read an awe-inspiring story entitled 93-year-old WWII Vet to Parachute into Normandy – Again. This was the story of Jim Martin who, as a private in the 101st Airborne, was one of the paratroopers dropped behind German lines in the hours before the D-Day landings. Jim determined that, to honor the 70th anniversary of D-Day, he would go back to Normandy, to parachute onto the same soil he touched seven decades before and he did just that. Reading Jim’s story provided reminders for me about the unique qualities of his generation and that brought illumination to my considering the application of those qualities in resolving the most significant challenges facing us today. Continue reading


Filed under America’s founding ideals, Baby Boomers, community, greatness

Land Where The Fathers Hide


missingparentAccording to my Pastor, “…human relationships – particularly when united in fellowship with God – (are) the foundational building blocks … and the backbone of (our) local communities and culture.” I wholly agree with that and I’ve added to it by saying, “Without that foundation, secular goals – e.g. a thriving and stable economy, affordable quality healthcare, affordable quality education, justice for all, etc. – are unattainable. When communities and culture come apart, so do all things relying on the support of that foundation.

In another recent Teaching (from Matthew 19: 13-15), my Pastor touched on the dramatic deterioration our culture continues to experience with one of these “foundational building blocks”. This aspect of cultural devolution has been labeled “Fatherlessness”. Since this reality has significantly impacted my life, from near the beginning to the present day, raising the topic touches me deeply.

Before delving into this matter, first, I must issue a disclaimer. I am not fatherless in terms of not knowing who my father is nor that he had no presence in my life. Although I didn’t grow up in my Dad’s home, I knew him and I love him dearly. When he died, at the age of 56, I was devastated. With that said, when I was only three years old, he left my mother, making her a single-parent … a term that wasn’t even used in those days … and I, along with my older brother and sister, became what were then known as children of a broken home. Looking back over the decades since that event, I’ve recognized that a male role model and mentor has always been lacking in my life and I’ve often wondered how different my life would have been if that void had been filled.

My “broken home” experience began over six decades ago, around 1950 to 1951. In those days, I and my siblings were the only “children of a broken home” that I knew. Sadly, since then, this has worsened exponentially. According to an article entitled Father Absence and the Welfare of Children, by Sara McLanahan:

“Increases in divorce and out-of-wedlock childbearing have dramatically altered the family life of American children. Whereas in the early 1960s, nearly 90 percent of all children lived with both of their biological parents until they reached adulthood, today less than half of children grow up with both natural parents. Nearly a third are born to unmarried parents, the majority of whom never live together, and another third are born to married parents who divorce before their child reaches adulthood. To further complicate matters, a substantial number of children are exposed to multiple marital disruptions and multiple father figures.”

WHAT HAPPENED?! Continue reading


Filed under Baby Boomers, commitment, community, Crime, Culture, economy, Education, Family, Fathers, Healthcare, Justice, Marriage, Substance Abuse

Rebuilding Lake Wobegon

Recently, I heard radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt interview Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais about their book “Millennial Makeover: MySpace, You Tube, and the Future of American Politics”. As Winograd and Hais outlined distinctive differences between the Millennial Generation and the Baby Boom Generation, my fellow Baby Boomer’s (Hewitt’s) reaction was to repeatedly say “Omigosh!”

Not long before I heard Hewitt’s interview, another fellow Baby Boomer directed me to the CBS News Website for a Morley Safer 60 Minutes segment entitled “The ‘Millennials’ Are Coming”. Maybe it’s the result of this Morley coming from the Silent Generation (a step closer to being from the GI Generation – aka The Greatest Generation), that led to him mostly just having his mouth gaping open, unable even to utter the expression “Omigosh!”, as he listened to emerging “experts” detail strategies for how to appropriately deal with the unconventional behavior of Millennials.

I think the most ridiculous reaction I’ve heard on this came from the authors of “Millennial Makeover: MySpace, You Tube, and the Future of American Politics”, themselves, when they likened the differences between Boomers and Millennials to the differences between Moses’ Generation and Joshua’s Generation. The authors’ assertion is that Boomers and Moses’ Generation were/are idealists while Millennials and Joshua’s Generation were/are civic-minded. Not only is this ridiculous, it’s Biblically inaccurate.

Though I do find these reactions to be ridiculous, that’s not to say that they’re not natural. In fact, they don’t seem to be that different from the reactions that my generation, the Baby Boomers, received from the GI Generation in the 60s and 70s.

When Hewitt posed the question, “What do they want?”, the Winograd/Hais answers were, “Wonderful family life…life that is filled with the riches of interpersonal relationships, and that has enough income so that they aren’t pressured enough on the income side … They want to leave America in better condition than they found it.” That’s not something that makes me want to say “Omigosh!” It makes me want to say “Amen Brother!”

When Morley Safer asked Wall Street Journal Columnist, Jeffrey Zaslow, who to “blame” for Millennials being such “narcissistic praise hounds”, he points to TV’s Mister Rogers and says, “He was telling his preschoolers, ‘You’re special. You’re special.’ And he meant well. But we, as parents, ran with it. And we said, ‘You, Junior, are special, and you’re special and you’re special and you’re special.’ And for doing what? We didn’t really explain that.” Zaslow may be right but, to me, it all sounded a bit familiar. Aren’t we, the Baby Boom Generation, the ones who fell in love with Garrison Keillor telling us about Lake Wobegon, “Where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking and all the children are above average”?

Since the Millennials … aka Generation Y … aka the Echo Boomers … are the largest generation in American history … approximately 1 million more than the Baby Boomers … of course, they are a serious force to be reckoned with. But, hyperventilating while repeating the expression “Omigosh!” doesn’t seem appropriate. In fact, that sort of reaction will most likely result in widening the chasm between the Millennial Generation and its predecessors. And, by the way, there are reactions in the opposite direction that are just as counterproductive. When a Millennial sees a 60-year-old face; assumes that this is a person who can’t grasp the concept of Social Networking, Blogging, Wikis, RSS, Twitter, etc. and deals with that person based on that assumption; that widens the chasm too. What is needed is for both generations to recognize how much they have to offer each other and if the chasm must remain, at least to build a bridge across it.

From my perspective, the greatest value Baby Boomers have to offer Millennials is what I call “A Great Wealth of Wisdom.” My generation was lavished, more than any other, with education. Moreover, we were raised by the GI Generation, who instilled us with a great work ethic. That meant, not only did we get a great education, we actually went out and tried to accomplish everything we could with that resource and in the process, grew the resource by honing it with experience to create … “A Great Wealth of Wisdom.” Sadly, though, if we don’t find a way to transfer this “Great Wealth”, IT WILL DIE WITH US!

But, wait a minute! Doesn’t this “Great Wealth” sound like just the right resource for Millennials to add to what they already have, to attain what Winograd and Hais say they want? – i.e. “Wonderful family life…life that is filled with the riches of interpersonal relationships, and that has enough income so that they aren’t pressured enough on the income side … They want to leave America in better condition than they found it.” And, didn’t I say that hearing this makes me want to say, “Amen Brother!”? I did and when my fellow Baby Boomers get the chance to consider this, without the hyperbole added by those promoting their newly formed cultural consulting companies or their books or their radio shows or their TV programs, I believe the majority will react as I did. That, in fact, means that both generations want the same thing – i.e “…to leave America in better condition than (we) found it.” Getting this done will require us to proactively connect instead of reactively separating. I say, “What are we waiting for?!” When you consider that connecting these generations results in forming a team made up of people who are all “special” and “above average”, there’s no reason for us not to attain this goal that we owe the future of the nation that we’re blessed to live in.

Comments Off on Rebuilding Lake Wobegon

Filed under ageism, Baby Boomers, Seniors, society