Term Paper: Economic, Social, and Moral Changes

Pages: 17 (4537 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Children  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] Baby boomers make up about 29% of the United States population with a population of approximately 76 million. Famous baby boomers include Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Madonna, Rush Limbaugh and Michael Jordon.

Baby boomers were most influenced by the music, events and social changes of the 1960's. The music represented revolution; sports heroes included Mickey Mantle and Muhammed Ali; and Americans enjoyed what baby boomers describe as a "good childhood."

Up until the early twentieth century, children had to work the farm with their parents. Children who were born after World War II - the baby boomers - were the first group that were free of that responsibility and the first group to enjoy general affluence and great amounts of free time.

But the parents of baby boomers tended to encourage their children to occupy their free time by doing constructive things. Baby boomers were an extracurricular group in school, participating in many activities, including band, track, basketball, choir and dance. Children were also encouraged to get after school jobs, like paper routes or baby-sitting.

By the 1980's most afternoon papers had disappeared. While many children continued to get after school jobs, less did. Interest in after school activities declined during this time, as well, and malls and parking lots became popular after school hangouts.

Today, statistics show that most adolescent crime occurs between the hours of 3 and 7 p.m. Perhaps this is because children get out of school at 1 or 2 p.m. And typically have parents who work until 5 or 6 p.m. The kids are bored and bound to get into mischief.

Since one's tastes and preferences are formed during one's upbringing, as the Baby Boomer cohort entered the workforce, they desired to achieve the material aspirations they were accustomed to.

While baby boomers were passionate about WWII, many did not understand it. They were lied to and misled by the government and lost thousands of peers in the war. Their open-eyed trust quickly led to mistrust and rebellion. After the war, their passion was directed toward making money and "keeping up with the Joneses."

The result of which is best described by Gen-X writer Marcos, "Yes, our generation is teen violence, Marilyn Manson, Columbine, but we are the ones left alone at home while our two Baby Boomer parents have forgotten their 60's idealism and only want more wealth, power and prestige."

The Children of Baby Boomers

During the sixties, about five percent of children were born to single parents. Gen-X'ers were taught that freedom meant living together without the commitment of marriage. When Gen-X'ers were teenagers, the number was about 25%. (U.S. Boomers, Wilkinson)

WWII parents were adamant about working to achieve success and taught their children that everything had a price tag and could be achieved through hard work. As a result, most baby boomers saved for years to buy a brand-new sports car. But their Gen-X children simply lease new cars as soon as they want them. Somehow, Baby Boomers gave their children the idea that credit should be used to live beyond their means.

Parents who lived through the Great Depression and whose independence and freedom had been threatened by a war that required sacrifices by everyone raised baby boomers. They did so without complaining that they had been victimized. Parenting was a simple concept to them. Many mothers sacrificed their careers to raise their children. Most parents wanted a better life for their children and did not look to the government to take responsibility for raising their children.

Baby boomers were more interested in themselves. Often, their careers came first and they expected the government to provide for and monitor day care centers so they could accomplish other things.

Baby boomers as a whole took a new approach to parenting than their own parents. They thought that by befriending their children that it would open communication and allow them to talk openly about anything. Basically, they just wanted them to grow up safely and turn eighteen so they could be free. (Easterlin)

However, the children of Baby Boomers were taught less about respect through this type of parenting. By not discipline their children and allowing them to be friends with them, the parents lost the stature of authority. This traveled to the school system as well, with certain schools allowing students to call their teachers Nancy or Tom instead of Mrs. Norse or Mr. Smith. (Wilkinson)

The Gen-X concepts of free love, condoms, and calling teachers by their first names are the result of the Baby Boomers social experiments. The Baby Boomer generation is often referred to as the "me" generation, and was the first generation to question authority and obedience.

As a result, their children have respect for only people, things, and ideas that can demonstrate they are worthy of respect. "Because I'm your father" is no longer enough to command deference. "Because it's in the Bible" is no longer enough to command obedience. Grey hair is no longer a badge of honor, and it no longer grants automatic authority over younger men and women.

The children of Baby Boomers learned to cooperate but not compromise; to respect but not blindly follow; and to question what they are told. The Baby Boomers rejected the core values of the WWII generation in raising their children. Instead, they married these values with modernized techniques and taught their children many new things.

A recent study shows that Baby Boomers raised their children with the following rules:

If you want it, get it, but try to get it on sale.

If you charge it, pay your bills on time.

Save, but enjoy yourself.

When you buy, buy the best -- it lasts longer.

Work hard, but don't forget to play hard.

If you have the chance to travel -- go!!

Plan for retirement -- but if you can withdraw the money to buy a house, do it. Otherwise you may not have one for a long time.

Regardless of your age, you can have anything you want - you just have to try. (Easterlin)

The Values Passed On By WWII Parents

The oldest group of American workers is referred to as the veteran generation. This generation comprises the smallest working cohort in this country and is estimated to be approximately 52 million. Many in this group were largely influenced by World War II and several general characteristics can be attributed to those growing up during that time period. (Easum)

Baby boomers were born to parents who lived through the Great Depression and World War II. The WWII generation of parents struggled through hardships that few people today face. The parents of Boomers knew no guarantees and as a result, were frugal, hardened and grateful for a job.

The mindset of WWII parents was "an honest day's work for an honest day's pay." They were grateful for their jobs and repaid their employers with lifelong loyalty. (Easterlin)

The WWII parents were very family-oriented. Most families, regardless of generation, lived near one another, and families took care of each other. Many WWII parents were born, raised, worked and died in the same house and neighborhood. They considered entertainment, communication, travel and transportation a luxury.

These values and work ethics were absorbed by the Baby Boomers. They worked hard and as time progresses, the economy flourished. Their incomes were larger than their parents and luxuries became affordable to many. They were able to raise their children in a favorable environment and in many cases, spoiled their children with the luxuries they never had.

Many of the Baby Boomers' children did not have to earn what they got. While the Baby Boomers grew up mowing lawns and collecting bottles to earn money, their children were not taught these things. The Gen-X'ers became accustomed to air conditioning and food delivery at an early age. They were sent to college, given spending money and cars, and had lots of free time in the summers. (Celek)

At the same time, they lost sight of their parents' strong family ties. They developed a high divorce rate, which split many families in half. Travel and transportation were common and inexpensive; so many Baby Boomers would travel to other cities for better jobs.

Work Ethics

The Gen-X'ers were taught differently about big business and company loyalty. They saw that many big companies were downsizing and learned that company loyalty should not be a priority. They also saw that their parents spend more hours working and less in taking care of their children. (Celek)

The Baby Boomers are often categorized as being egocentric. Still, the Baby Boomers are known for being passionate about their work. They are hard workers like their parents and have been known to consider work as giving life meaning, as opposed to the next and final generation currently working, Generation X

Many Baby Boomers continue to hold the top management positions at companies, while times are rough for Gen-X'ers,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Economic, Social, and Moral Changes.  (2002, April 26).  Retrieved April 26, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/economic-social-moral-changes/7825255

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