Innocents At Home

It snowed the other morning north of Boston. It was the first, early snowfall of the season, if you take a very literal view of the term “snowfall,” because the flurries that fell didn’t amount to any real accumulation. They stuck tentatively to the ground, in clusters, like they were as surprised to be landing on the lawn as we were to see them.

My 11-year-old woke and from her bedroom upstairs, and I heard a noise that sounded like she stepped on a puppy’s tail. She was squealing not about sledding or school closings, as you might expect. Instead, she hollered as she charged down the stairs, “Yippee! We’ve stopped global warming!”

Her comment came without a hint of irony. How heartbreakingly innocent is that?

She bounded into the kitchen and gave me a quick, happy hug. She might now be almost as tall as I am, but as she stood there in the kitchen — in bare feet and with her pigtails loosened in sleep, bits of wild hair sticking out — that was easy to ignore for a second. In her freckled face I saw only a child’s hopeful optimism.

Apparently, her kind of optimism and idealism are baked into her generation the way that “don’t trust anyone over 30″ was baked into the Baby Boomers.

Caroline is one of the so-called Millennial Generation, the 78 million kids and young adults born in the 20 years between 1980 and 2000. That’s a huge number — creating something of a generational gang, bigger even than the Boomers.

Millennials are “team players, conditioned through constant social interaction (often online) to ‘find consensus, “win-win” solutions to any problem,’” write Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais in their book on Millennials, adding that they “aren’t confrontational or combative, the way Boomers…have been.”

Rather, Newsweek reports, they are what social scientist William Strauss calls a “civic generation,” drawn to issues of “community, politics and deeds, whereas the boomers focused on issues of self, culture and morals.”

Marci Armstrong, an associate dean at Southern Methodist University, sums it up: “There is so much potential for this generation. They’re going to change the world.”

They are optimists. And it’s easy to mock an optimist.

Those who hope for the best are scorned as “Pollyannas.” Bart Simpson mocks Lisa’s idealism. Lou Grant mocked Mary Richards in the newsroom. Voltaire enjoys many a knowing smile at the expense of his Candide.

(And in his fourth book, the author Lemony Snicket introduces a character named Phil, who is a relentless optimist: “if an optimist had his left arm chewed off by an alligator, he might say, in a pleasant and hopeful voice, ‘Well, this isn’t too bad. I don’t have my left arm anymore, but at least nobody will ever ask me whether I am right-handed or left-handed,’ but most of us would say something more along the lines of ‘Aaaaah! My arm! My Arm!’”)

But despite such derision, it’s hard to describe Millennials as anything but upbeat.

I know I’m navigating a slippery slope here. Sweeping statements about generations can easily come across as overblown or simplistic. It’s also hard to… well, generalize. Those who weathered the Great Depression and World War II were known as the Greatest Generation, for example. But I once lived next door to a petty, mean-spirited war veteran who would steal our ball when it landed in his yard. What’s so great about that?

Still, there’s something to it. There’s something different about these 78 million kids who believe with certainty that they can change the world. Kids who, like Caroline, can passionately deliver a lecture on our overflowing landfills when her brother thoughtlessly tosses a Sprite can in the trash. Or who, like her friend Sabrina, hopped off the school bus to cold-call for Obama before the November election. Sabrina won’t be able to vote for another seven years, but she still can articulate why Obama was the better choice.

Is their outlook radical? Well, it’s definitely radically different from the way my friends and I operated when we were 11. Certainly the 1970s had their young leaders–those were the years of Bobby Kennedy and Coretta Scott King and Gloria Steinem. But we were in a coma when it came to such issues. In our New England suburb, my friends and I were insulated from such events–maybe culturally, or maybe intentionally… by our parents. Maybe we overheard about Watergate or gay rights, but it seemed remote: It wasn’t clear they had anything to do, ultimately, with us.

When I think back now, the clearest memories I have of my own middle school years revolve around TV sitcoms. We had only one color TV and only one couch from which to view it, and most of my middle school time I seem to have spent jockeying for position to watch the shows I wanted to watch and not, as sometimes happened, getting stuck watching the shows my parents preferred. This meant, for example, racing through dinner so I could turn on The Brady Bunch and not, instead, suffer through Adam-12 if someone else got there first. I loved The Brady Bunch (in my secret life, I was the fourth Brady sister), but Adam-12, as much as I could figure out, was a dull and serious show about LA cops and the vehicles they cruised around in.

When I talk like this, my kids look at me with a mix of curiosity and fear, as if I’m explaining how I used to churn our own butter. “We actually had to arrange our schedules around network programming,” I tell them.

“But why couldn’t you just TiVo the other, and watch it later?” my son asks, flummoxed.

“Because you couldn’t,” I explain. “The technology wasn’t invented yet.”

“Oh,” he says, “so you had a first-generation DVR? The kind where you can’t watch another show while you are recording the second?”

“No,” I say. “I mean, we didn’t have a DVR yet.”

“So you were poor?” he wonders aloud.

“No!” I said. “I mean, no one had a DVR. That wouldn’t be invented for a few decades. So we had to watch whatever was on TV.

“And,” I add, in an uphill-both-ways kind of emphasis, “we had only three good channels.”

Finally, the kids nod, as much to get back to their own programming as anything. The pain of relinquishing a TV show is something they can understand, at least in theory.

But, ironically, television schooled us in social consciousness, too. I credit Iron Eyes Cody, the iconic “Crying Indian” from the “People Start Pollution, People Can Stop It” public service campaign, as the sole social ambassador I can recall from those years. Kids today have all kinds of inroads into a raised consciousness–even NickTV has a campaign that talks up recycling. But all my generation had, for the most part, were the unspoken words behind that single tear rolling down the Indian’s cheek when thoughtless Americans tossed potato chip wrappers at his feet.

Maybe Iron Eyes Cody–who, it must be said, wasn’t even an Indian at all, but an Italian–helped instill a little behavioral change into Americans. At the least, maybe he made them feel a little guilty when they tossed their Pepsi cans and newspapers out of their car windows. As for me, I frankly considered him kind of a downer.

Were kids less globally minded then? Were adults? Or were our parents just interested in keeping us… well, kids? Either way, our kids’ world is a different place today.

Gone are the days–at least, in our house–when a snow squall can be viewed selfishly as a simple day off from school, rather than a signal of entirely something else.

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51 Responses to Innocents At Home

  1. Mukund Mohan says:

    I am amazed by this M generation. They are perplexing yet serene, calm, yet fight for things that I think are banal.

    I think of most of us as optimists who have “schooled” or “institutionalized”.

    I am so glad to get them to take the lead on the climate change issue. I am pretty sure we’d muck it up with scientific reports and analysis to the point of paralysis.

    That’s the other thing about this generation – they really epitomize the Just do it approach.

    Great post Ann.

  2. Mukund Mohan says:

    I am amazed by this M generation. They are perplexing yet serene, calm, yet fight for things that I think are banal.

    I think of most of us as optimists who have “schooled” or “institutionalized”.

    I am so glad to get them to take the lead on the climate change issue. I am pretty sure we’d muck it up with scientific reports and analysis to the point of paralysis.

    That’s the other thing about this generation – they really epitomize the Just do it approach.

    Great post Ann.

  3. Julie Roads says:

    Such a powerful post…I laughed, I cried, I nodded along. Sadly, I can’t help but wonder at your daughter’s ultimate disappointment when she realizes that the snow did not signify the end of the climate crisis.

    Thank you so much for sharing this story and the way your brain made sense of it!

  4. Julie Roads says:

    Such a powerful post…I laughed, I cried, I nodded along. Sadly, I can’t help but wonder at your daughter’s ultimate disappointment when she realizes that the snow did not signify the end of the climate crisis.

    Thank you so much for sharing this story and the way your brain made sense of it!

  5. Julie says:

    Aw, Ann I love this post. My 11-year-old went into the cold storage and found boots, mittens, Santa hat and then went out and wrote Let It Snow, Let It Snow on the back windshield of the car and perched a perfect snowball on the top of the car as if an exclamation point. I drove around for that day and the next with my perfect snowball.

  6. Julie says:

    Aw, Ann I love this post. My 11-year-old went into the cold storage and found boots, mittens, Santa hat and then went out and wrote Let It Snow, Let It Snow on the back windshield of the car and perched a perfect snowball on the top of the car as if an exclamation point. I drove around for that day and the next with my perfect snowball.

  7. Their optimism can be so warm heartening, and sometimes infectious. It may seem like not understanding hurdles, statistics, and ‘the way things are’, is just a sign of their age. Oftentimes though, there’s a subtle lesson for us adults too. While barriers and larger external forces do exist, they can’t hinder our individual abilities to make a difference. Rationality in the larger scheme of things doesn’t matter; being present in the now is all that does.

  8. Their optimism can be so warm heartening, and sometimes infectious. It may seem like not understanding hurdles, statistics, and ‘the way things are’, is just a sign of their age. Oftentimes though, there’s a subtle lesson for us adults too. While barriers and larger external forces do exist, they can’t hinder our individual abilities to make a difference. Rationality in the larger scheme of things doesn’t matter; being present in the now is all that does.

  9. Ann – great post! I love analyzing what makes one generation different from another and can spend endless hours in reflection on this topic!

  10. Ann – great post! I love analyzing what makes one generation different from another and can spend endless hours in reflection on this topic!

  11. Kurt says:

    Thanks for this.

    It makes me think that my teen daughter might be able to change the world in ways my generation hasn’t managed.

    I think somewhere we got our hope and optimism crushed under the weight of “reality”.

    Maybe her generation is getting it right, change IS possible.

  12. Kurt says:

    Thanks for this.

    It makes me think that my teen daughter might be able to change the world in ways my generation hasn’t managed.

    I think somewhere we got our hope and optimism crushed under the weight of “reality”.

    Maybe her generation is getting it right, change IS possible.

  13. DeAndrea says:

    Isn’t this kind of optimism just as good if not better than keeping them innocent for as long as possible? I love that kids these days are as a whole much more aware than when I was a kid. I’d rather informed optimism any day than uninformed naivety. So good job to the parents of today! Bravo for fostering this great attitude in the kiddos!

  14. DeAndrea says:

    Isn’t this kind of optimism just as good if not better than keeping them innocent for as long as possible? I love that kids these days are as a whole much more aware than when I was a kid. I’d rather informed optimism any day than uninformed naivety. So good job to the parents of today! Bravo for fostering this great attitude in the kiddos!

  15. Karen says:

    Being the same age as you with daughters the same age, wow can I identify with the nostaliga trip and Crying Indian.

    Here in Florida, my 11-yr. old has claimed for four years that she misses snow, so it’s off to Chicago (where she was born) for Christmas. Despite my constant preaching about how grateful her parents are (and she should be) to now live in Florida and be spared the cold weather clostrophobia and winter blues I grew up with, she only sees the bright side! Snow is, after all, supposed to be played in.

    I was certainly as sheltered as you as a child. Save for what seeped through the single TV in the house on the snippets of evening news I caught before “The Osmonds” or “Partridge Family” I had little idea what was going on in the world. My parents were not activists, educators or politicians, just a regular Wonder Years style couple raising kids. A few years ago I found my third grade diary. There was a page written in my childhood printing that said simply “Today the President got fired.” It must’ve been the day Nixon was impeached. I have no conscious memory of it, nor at the time likely understood what it meant, but there it was recorded for posterity.

    While I hope my daughter has better recall of the significance of the events shaping her future, she’ll probably see and remember them as “just a kid”. As globally-minded and exposed as kids are compared to us at the same age (the more things change) their optimism and sense of wonder seems not to have been diminished (the more they stay the same). In fact, maybe it’s even greater than ours. I like to think their sense of empowerment is.

  16. Karen says:

    Being the same age as you with daughters the same age, wow can I identify with the nostaliga trip and Crying Indian.

    Here in Florida, my 11-yr. old has claimed for four years that she misses snow, so it’s off to Chicago (where she was born) for Christmas. Despite my constant preaching about how grateful her parents are (and she should be) to now live in Florida and be spared the cold weather clostrophobia and winter blues I grew up with, she only sees the bright side! Snow is, after all, supposed to be played in.

    I was certainly as sheltered as you as a child. Save for what seeped through the single TV in the house on the snippets of evening news I caught before “The Osmonds” or “Partridge Family” I had little idea what was going on in the world. My parents were not activists, educators or politicians, just a regular Wonder Years style couple raising kids. A few years ago I found my third grade diary. There was a page written in my childhood printing that said simply “Today the President got fired.” It must’ve been the day Nixon was impeached. I have no conscious memory of it, nor at the time likely understood what it meant, but there it was recorded for posterity.

    While I hope my daughter has better recall of the significance of the events shaping her future, she’ll probably see and remember them as “just a kid”. As globally-minded and exposed as kids are compared to us at the same age (the more things change) their optimism and sense of wonder seems not to have been diminished (the more they stay the same). In fact, maybe it’s even greater than ours. I like to think their sense of empowerment is.

  17. Ann,
    Beautifully done, as usual. My 13 year old girl is a positive force, too. {And a force to be reckoned with, I reckon}

    She DVR’s everything, sucking the available taping hours through the remote like snow through a solar powered snow blower.

    I used to get home after school, get a snack, curl under a blanket, and turn Lost In Space on.

    “Warning! Warning!

    Dr. Smith was suck an idiot.

    Whenever it IS on nowadays, I last about 2-3 minutes, as my tolerance for him is light years from my psyche.

    The Brady’s were pretty good, but I never got along with blonde’s.

    Thanx for the memories. Now where are those Cinnamon Pop Tarts?

    Joel Libava
    Freezing in Cleveland

  18. Joel Libava says:

    Ann,
    Beautifully done, as usual. My 13 year old girl is a positive force, too. {And a force to be reckoned with, I reckon}

    She DVR’s everything, sucking the available taping hours through the remote like snow through a solar powered snow blower.

    I used to get home after school, get a snack, curl under a blanket, and turn Lost In Space on.

    “Warning! Warning!

    Dr. Smith was suck an idiot.

    Whenever it IS on nowadays, I last about 2-3 minutes, as my tolerance for him is light years from my psyche.

    The Brady’s were pretty good, but I never got along with blonde’s.

    Thanx for the memories. Now where are those Cinnamon Pop Tarts?

    Joel Libava
    Freezing in Cleveland

  19. Shama Hyder says:

    Were you poor? Lol! I love that.

    Guilty of being a Millennial. Shhh. And an optimist. Double shh. : )

  20. Shama Hyder says:

    Were you poor? Lol! I love that.

    Guilty of being a Millennial. Shhh. And an optimist. Double shh. : )

  21. Phil Johnson says:

    This is a fine piece of writing, business, personal or otherwise. Thanks.

  22. Phil Johnson says:

    This is a fine piece of writing, business, personal or otherwise. Thanks.

  23. David Reich says:

    Thanks for giving me a great few minutes on the rainy night. I love your writing. Bravo.

  24. David Reich says:

    Thanks for giving me a great few minutes on the rainy night. I love your writing. Bravo.

  25. Ann Handley says:

    Thanks, all. And I love Karen’s comment, “Today the President got fired”… with no actual memory to provide context.

    That pretty much sums up the 1970s!

  26. Ann Handley says:

    Thanks, all. And I love Karen’s comment, “Today the President got fired”… with no actual memory to provide context.

    That pretty much sums up the 1970s!

  27. Alan Wolk says:

    To add a contrary voice here:
    I am (more or less) the same age as you and I was very aware of what was going on in the world as a kid.
    Maybe that was my own geekery or the fact that the New York Times was required reading in school (and delivered to us there every AM) from around 4th grade onwards.
    Or just growing up in NYC?

    As for optimism, we were force-fed it (and then some) through all those education programs Sixties People inflicted on us throughout the 70s. Remember “Up With People?” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Up_with_People) Marlo Thomas and her “Free To Be You and Me” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_to_Be%E2%80%A6_You_and_Me )
    Or all those Earth Day events with the green and yellow Earth Day flag? I remember that in 7th grade we learned about poor people in America (it wasn’t framed that way, but that’s what it was) and made string art sculptures (remember those things: http://image.orientaltrading.com/otcimg/48_2529.jpg – it doesn’t get more 70s!) that we sold at some crafts fair to raise money for poor kids in Appalachia because we really could make their lives better.

    So maybe optimism is just in the nature of certain types of 11 year olds and where they’re living at the time.

    As for DVRs though– my kids are a little younger than yours and are completely wigged out by homes without DVRs or (worse still) without wireless internet. (“Why doesn’t the laptop work at Grandma’s house?”) My daughter is still convinced we’re just being lazy when we tell her you can’t skip through the commercials at certain relatives houses. Lack of cell phones in the 70s and 80s is another mental hurdle: “So if you were out and you needed to call somebody, what did you do?… what’s a ‘pay phone?’”

    Thanks for the memories though. Keep meaning to introduce my kids to the Bradys and Partridges….on YouTube, naturally ;)

  28. Alan Wolk says:

    To add a contrary voice here:
    I am (more or less) the same age as you and I was very aware of what was going on in the world as a kid.
    Maybe that was my own geekery or the fact that the New York Times was required reading in school (and delivered to us there every AM) from around 4th grade onwards.
    Or just growing up in NYC?

    As for optimism, we were force-fed it (and then some) through all those education programs Sixties People inflicted on us throughout the 70s. Remember “Up With People?” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Up_with_People) Marlo Thomas and her “Free To Be You and Me” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_to_Be%E2%80%A6_You_and_Me )
    Or all those Earth Day events with the green and yellow Earth Day flag? I remember that in 7th grade we learned about poor people in America (it wasn’t framed that way, but that’s what it was) and made string art sculptures (remember those things: http://image.orientaltrading.com/otcimg/48_2529.jpg – it doesn’t get more 70s!) that we sold at some crafts fair to raise money for poor kids in Appalachia because we really could make their lives better.

    So maybe optimism is just in the nature of certain types of 11 year olds and where they’re living at the time.

    As for DVRs though– my kids are a little younger than yours and are completely wigged out by homes without DVRs or (worse still) without wireless internet. (“Why doesn’t the laptop work at Grandma’s house?”) My daughter is still convinced we’re just being lazy when we tell her you can’t skip through the commercials at certain relatives houses. Lack of cell phones in the 70s and 80s is another mental hurdle: “So if you were out and you needed to call somebody, what did you do?… what’s a ‘pay phone?’”

    Thanks for the memories though. Keep meaning to introduce my kids to the Bradys and Partridges….on YouTube, naturally ;)

  29. Alan Wolk says:

    Other memories coming back: “The Point” – Harry Nilson’s animated fable, where the main role of Oblio was voiced by Bobby Brady himself (Mike Lookinland) – we spent 2 weeks minimum discussing this in school whatever grade I was in when it came out. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Point! and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjhTBZaVYfA )

  30. Alan Wolk says:

    Other memories coming back: “The Point” – Harry Nilson’s animated fable, where the main role of Oblio was voiced by Bobby Brady himself (Mike Lookinland) – we spent 2 weeks minimum discussing this in school whatever grade I was in when it came out. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Point! and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjhTBZaVYfA )

  31. NWGuy says:

    Ann,

    Thanks for the great post; I’ve had the argument that we didn’t have a VCR. My wife won’t let me translate that to a DVR, but with effort maybe we’ll get there.

    One minor quibble? Bobby Kennedy was in the mid-60s.

    In terms of icons, you did bring back memories with Iron Eyes Cody but there was also Smokey the Bear (or am I off on years now?).

  32. NWGuy says:

    Ann,

    Thanks for the great post; I’ve had the argument that we didn’t have a VCR. My wife won’t let me translate that to a DVR, but with effort maybe we’ll get there.

    One minor quibble? Bobby Kennedy was in the mid-60s.

    In terms of icons, you did bring back memories with Iron Eyes Cody but there was also Smokey the Bear (or am I off on years now?).

  33. Burbanked says:

    Excellent post as ever, Ann, and your insight into our TV generation is terrific. I imagine that my earliest TV-watching years – 67-75 – must have been FILLED with all manner of socially-conscious and revolutionary content, but whether my parents shielded it or my siblings and I simply didn’t seek it out, it didn’t filter in.

    My only memory of TV-related rebellion was that my mom refused to let us watch Hogan’s Heroes in the fear that we’d grow up thinking of the Nazis as a bunch of wacky cut-ups. Naturally, we watched the show in secret, my finger nervously on the change-channel button while I waited for the sound of my mother’s footfalls on the steps. To this day when I hear the Hogan theme music, I experience a sudden sense memory and the unsettling sensation that I’m doing something I’m not supposed to.

    But one positive, vaguely socially insightful experience I also recall with a strong sense of purpose was the Schoolhouse Rock shorts, most of which were simply educational, but a few of which had political messages as well.

  34. Burbanked says:

    Excellent post as ever, Ann, and your insight into our TV generation is terrific. I imagine that my earliest TV-watching years – 67-75 – must have been FILLED with all manner of socially-conscious and revolutionary content, but whether my parents shielded it or my siblings and I simply didn’t seek it out, it didn’t filter in.

    My only memory of TV-related rebellion was that my mom refused to let us watch Hogan’s Heroes in the fear that we’d grow up thinking of the Nazis as a bunch of wacky cut-ups. Naturally, we watched the show in secret, my finger nervously on the change-channel button while I waited for the sound of my mother’s footfalls on the steps. To this day when I hear the Hogan theme music, I experience a sudden sense memory and the unsettling sensation that I’m doing something I’m not supposed to.

    But one positive, vaguely socially insightful experience I also recall with a strong sense of purpose was the Schoolhouse Rock shorts, most of which were simply educational, but a few of which had political messages as well.

  35. Tabitha Dunn says:

    I love this article. I confess, I am not a boomer – I am a genX. but I had the influence of being a military brat and living all over the US and Europe. I even (gasp) didn’t have a tv until I was ten. Imagine the look of utter confusion on my six year old daughter’s face… she can’t fathom no tv, much less having to watch commercials, no cable, no dvr, etc…
    Picture this – at four she came wandering into the living room while I was watching CSI (yes, I am an admitted crime show addict). I asked her to go back to her computer game (sigh) and she snorted at me and said in her chiding voice – “Mom, it’s not like it’s real – it’s only tv!” (-:

  36. Tabitha Dunn says:

    I love this article. I confess, I am not a boomer – I am a genX. but I had the influence of being a military brat and living all over the US and Europe. I even (gasp) didn’t have a tv until I was ten. Imagine the look of utter confusion on my six year old daughter’s face… she can’t fathom no tv, much less having to watch commercials, no cable, no dvr, etc…
    Picture this – at four she came wandering into the living room while I was watching CSI (yes, I am an admitted crime show addict). I asked her to go back to her computer game (sigh) and she snorted at me and said in her chiding voice – “Mom, it’s not like it’s real – it’s only tv!” (-:

  37. Dana Ironside says:

    Between your post and everyone’s comments so far, I’ve definitely been taken back in time. My daughter is the one at 6 who made me recycle. I admit, I always had guilt about not recycling (i was raised jewish in NY so most things come with some sort of guilt feeling both good and bad) so her little caring words about the environment forced me to act. How could I not? She was so persuasive.

    But on my own childhood and your comment about being the 4th brady sister. That’s impossible, you would have had to have been the fifth! I was the 4th one. :) I could have been a Partridge family sister in the band too but I knew I was just not musically inclined so I resigned myself to the cool brady kids. I think I would have ended up kissing either Peter or Bobby behind the scenes like Marcia kissed Greg.

    Thanks for the memories and the insight.

  38. Dana Ironside says:

    Between your post and everyone’s comments so far, I’ve definitely been taken back in time. My daughter is the one at 6 who made me recycle. I admit, I always had guilt about not recycling (i was raised jewish in NY so most things come with some sort of guilt feeling both good and bad) so her little caring words about the environment forced me to act. How could I not? She was so persuasive.

    But on my own childhood and your comment about being the 4th brady sister. That’s impossible, you would have had to have been the fifth! I was the 4th one. :) I could have been a Partridge family sister in the band too but I knew I was just not musically inclined so I resigned myself to the cool brady kids. I think I would have ended up kissing either Peter or Bobby behind the scenes like Marcia kissed Greg.

    Thanks for the memories and the insight.

  39. That was awesome Ann. These are a hopeful generation and I truly believe our girls will make major changes for the world.

  40. That was awesome Ann. These are a hopeful generation and I truly believe our girls will make major changes for the world.

  41. Tim Jackson says:

    I can’t decide if you are making it harder or easier for me to hate you. Sincerely.

    I remember Iron Eyes too. He resonated with me for some reason- probably because my father had once told me we had some slim trace of American Indian blood in the family history, though I believe he was just messing with my head again. (He also said I was related to Andrew Jackson- which I am NOT!) Maybe it was because I spent all the time I could outside, preferably fishing, and just felt “it” somehow in the message. I dunno.

    My daughter is only 7 years old and just outside that 2000 window, but she still fits pretty well. Recycling is a must here. And her hippie-fueled school teaches conflict resolution beginning at 1st grade. She was in a special “children of divorce” group last school year… she loved it. But then again, she’s a Gemini and the child of two (TWO!) Pisces parents. Poor thing.

    These kids WILL change the world- for better or for worse. They will. They are so smart and connected and spend so much time thinking of these things and sharing ideas to form their sense of greater community. I envy them in many ways.

    Global warming be damned! Let the snow fall!

  42. Tim Jackson says:

    I can’t decide if you are making it harder or easier for me to hate you. Sincerely.

    I remember Iron Eyes too. He resonated with me for some reason- probably because my father had once told me we had some slim trace of American Indian blood in the family history, though I believe he was just messing with my head again. (He also said I was related to Andrew Jackson- which I am NOT!) Maybe it was because I spent all the time I could outside, preferably fishing, and just felt “it” somehow in the message. I dunno.

    My daughter is only 7 years old and just outside that 2000 window, but she still fits pretty well. Recycling is a must here. And her hippie-fueled school teaches conflict resolution beginning at 1st grade. She was in a special “children of divorce” group last school year… she loved it. But then again, she’s a Gemini and the child of two (TWO!) Pisces parents. Poor thing.

    These kids WILL change the world- for better or for worse. They will. They are so smart and connected and spend so much time thinking of these things and sharing ideas to form their sense of greater community. I envy them in many ways.

    Global warming be damned! Let the snow fall!

  43. David says:

    I found Annarchy while learning about blogging. I, too, enjoy discussing the generations. Being a war baby I fit somewhere between the Great Generation and the Boomers. Enjoyed your post — nay, your essay. Alas, as one of the naive uninformed group, I have great hope for this generation. They MUST succeed and they will learn their follies, too. Let us hope they know how to think just enough and then to act.

  44. David says:

    I found Annarchy while learning about blogging. I, too, enjoy discussing the generations. Being a war baby I fit somewhere between the Great Generation and the Boomers. Enjoyed your post — nay, your essay. Alas, as one of the naive uninformed group, I have great hope for this generation. They MUST succeed and they will learn their follies, too. Let us hope they know how to think just enough and then to act.

  45. Lisa says:

    Great post, Ann. I laughed, and nodded along with you as well. Because I have thought the same at times.

    But, I think that it is the eternal hope of those in our generation – regardless of the era, to look at the optimism and potential of our youth.

    We must be close to the same age. My boys are older than your daughter at 21 & 19. As they have grown, I have seen all sides of their generation – the good, the bad, the ugly, and the potential.

    Like one of your other readers, I do not remember being sheltered. I remember quite a bit of activism. I also grew up in a city – DC.

    My schools, my friends, and my family were actively involved in Woman’s Rights, Conservation, and public/community service. We participated in Earth Day activities, we marched for No Nukes, we were standing outside of the Supreme Court when Roe vs. Wade was handed down.

    We live in a rural area now, and it has been a struggle to keep my sons aware of their place in the world and their responsibilities to not just preserve it, but to make it better.

    So, I share your optimism and hope in our youth. Their turn to make great change is coming. Just don’t forget the great things that our generation has done, or those before us ;-)

  46. Lisa says:

    Great post, Ann. I laughed, and nodded along with you as well. Because I have thought the same at times.

    But, I think that it is the eternal hope of those in our generation – regardless of the era, to look at the optimism and potential of our youth.

    We must be close to the same age. My boys are older than your daughter at 21 & 19. As they have grown, I have seen all sides of their generation – the good, the bad, the ugly, and the potential.

    Like one of your other readers, I do not remember being sheltered. I remember quite a bit of activism. I also grew up in a city – DC.

    My schools, my friends, and my family were actively involved in Woman’s Rights, Conservation, and public/community service. We participated in Earth Day activities, we marched for No Nukes, we were standing outside of the Supreme Court when Roe vs. Wade was handed down.

    We live in a rural area now, and it has been a struggle to keep my sons aware of their place in the world and their responsibilities to not just preserve it, but to make it better.

    So, I share your optimism and hope in our youth. Their turn to make great change is coming. Just don’t forget the great things that our generation has done, or those before us ;-)

  47. Lisa says:

    And I forgot!!!

    I really laughed out loud at the DVD story. These events with our kids serve as evidence that we are becoming our parents.

    I have a 36 year old stepdaughter. When she was 11, I had taken her to a Record Store. I was browsing, and she came running over with a Beatles Album.

    “Hey Lisa! Did you know Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings?!”

  48. Lisa says:

    And I forgot!!!

    I really laughed out loud at the DVD story. These events with our kids serve as evidence that we are becoming our parents.

    I have a 36 year old stepdaughter. When she was 11, I had taken her to a Record Store. I was browsing, and she came running over with a Beatles Album.

    “Hey Lisa! Did you know Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings?!”

  49. Marnie says:

    Hi, “Annie”…Loved your post…and have to admit that I’m as much as an optimist as your daughter, Caroline,…Although I now reside in Pennsylvania…a little more temperate than New England, I too found thoughts of “global warming is waning” popping into my noggin …perhaps it’s because I was not quite a “boomer”…was born right before the dawn of that generation…or that I’m just an incurable optimist…Sorry to inform you but according to my goggling…”there was never a fourth Brady daughter. You’re probably remembering the ad stunt when the Brady Bunch first started airing on TVLand. They did commericals where they popped an obnoxious little girl into old tape of the show and blamed her for all the Brady mishaps. I believe her name was Phoebe”…anywho, I can’t imagine you getting blamed for any mishaps…you’re an amazing woman…will write more later in private email…
    Enjoy the holidays…Cheers, Marnie

  50. Marnie says:

    Hi, “Annie”…Loved your post…and have to admit that I’m as much as an optimist as your daughter, Caroline,…Although I now reside in Pennsylvania…a little more temperate than New England, I too found thoughts of “global warming is waning” popping into my noggin …perhaps it’s because I was not quite a “boomer”…was born right before the dawn of that generation…or that I’m just an incurable optimist…Sorry to inform you but according to my goggling…”there was never a fourth Brady daughter. You’re probably remembering the ad stunt when the Brady Bunch first started airing on TVLand. They did commericals where they popped an obnoxious little girl into old tape of the show and blamed her for all the Brady mishaps. I believe her name was Phoebe”…anywho, I can’t imagine you getting blamed for any mishaps…you’re an amazing woman…will write more later in private email…
    Enjoy the holidays…Cheers, Marnie

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