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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Muller

Discussions with Boomers About My Latest Book

I have recently spoken to a few book clubs and held library signings about my book ‘SEX, DRUGS, ROCK and WAR: The Boomer Generation’ - 14 Boomer Life Stories that Bring a New Perspective to the Conflict Between Generations. 

(This book is available at all retail sites including Amazon. More information can be obtained at my website ''.)

Most in these discussions were either Boomers or from ‘The Greatest Generation’, which is sometimes referred to as ‘The Silent Generation’, born prior to 1946.

I found the discussions extremely interesting, as their opinions about the hot issues in the book varied, yet had a consistent theme, as I will explain.

If you have read my book, you will know that the book describes the life stories of 14 individual Baby Boomers, but that these stories enabled me, and the readers, to explore the causes of the generational friction that exists today between Boomers and younger generations, especially Generation Y and Z. For example, in general, those in the younger generations are blaming Boomers for being the generation that created a polluted world, a world with unaffordable college educations and housing, a world where the national deficit is so large that it can never be repaid within the lifetimes of most Boomers, a world where gun violence has become much too common, and many other problems.

Most in these discussions were already aware of this generational conflict, mainly due to discussions within their own families.

The great majority felt that this blame being placed upon Boomers was unfair and unjustified, and that the Boomer generation in fact created many positives in our country and the world.

Much of the time in these discussions was spent on the various individual stories of attendees as they grew up. The general sense was that there are so many things that the younger generations take for granted today, that Boomers did not have available to them until later in their lives. One person talked about how late in life they were able to get a credit card to use, and how difficult it was to obtain one, while others talked about all the technology that younger generations use to simplify their lives (internet, apps, deliver-to-your-door, Google) but that many Boomers or Silents find difficult to use given their lack of understanding and training in how to use modern technologies.

Others talked about the high expectations that younger generations have for ‘things’ that are must-haves, not optional. For example, some said that Gen Y and Z seem to require the newest cell phones, multiple streaming services, very large screen TV’s, sometimes in many rooms, newer cars, things delivered to their door using services such as Amazon Prime, and food delivered to their homes, even though those deliveries entail costs that must come from disposable income. Some described how much money the younger generation spends in a year drinking premium coffees, and how their daily favorite caffeinated drink can consume a significant percentage of their budgets. I heard several stories about how Boomers in the room sacrificed in their younger years by having older cars, dining at home as the norm, doing their own shopping, growing their own food in gardens, etc., all in the spirit of saving money and reducing expenditures.

Several were outraged about how our government is trying to wipe-out college debt, which they felt was unfair to those who repaid their college debts, and that forgiving any debt just reinforces a lack of accountability for certain behaviors.

Some discussed the parenting styles of each of these generations, and some wondered if parents today of younger children were doing too much for their children, and thus instilling a sense of ‘I am the most important person in the world’ in their children, instead of instilling a sense of respect for others. Most also felt that the national deficit is one of the top problems in our country, but that the media tends to dismiss this as a major issue.

One of the key questions I wanted to better understand, as I wrote the book, was – ‘As being a member of the Boomer generation, did we truly create a mess of the world, or are there more things at play here that has caused the conflict and the blame coming from younger generations?’

I would have to say that in these discussions, at least the Boomers in the room felt that Boomers did NOT create a mess of the world, and perhaps did too much for the younger generations to the point that the younger generations developed a sense of entitlement, in some ways. The Boomers described how ‘messed up’ their worlds were as they grew up, yet they did not let the negative things in the world deter them from living their lives, working hard, making sacrifices, and having families. And nobody recalled ever blaming their parents or grandparents for the negative things in their early years, such as wars, diseases, exorbitant interest rates, inflation, pollution, lack of opportunities and assistance programs, etc.

In summary, I have come away from these discussions realizing that most of the people from the Boomer generations (and older) also are frustrated with the conflict between generations, but they understand that the problems of the younger generations are real, and that Boomers indeed were involved in the beginnings of the creation of many of the current ‘big problems’ of today. I am convinced that more discussion needs to occur between generations so that they better understand one another.

If you have not read my book, I would encourage you to do so, and for those who have children or grandchildren in these younger generations, you might consider purchasing my book for them, so that they can develop a new perspective on the differences between generations

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