I have been reading some fascinating materials on generations -- sparked by and reacting to Millenials Rising by Strauss & Howe. If you are not familiar with these archetypes, Wikipedia actually offers a pretty comprehensive (even though basic) overview.

I could expound at length about the implications for the Church's approach to Youth Ministry, where Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers are designing programs for Millenials, but I will refrain.

A more personal musing for me has been on the differences in generations and how they might affect relationships. Specifically, mine own.

Nothing about this is cut-and-dried, of course, and I have been told that I "think young" which might explain a few things...

But I was struck by this: I can identify myself fairly easily within the Nomad/Reactive generational archetype and that roughly corresponds to my age. This archetype is portrayed as being born in a time of spiritual agendas and social ideals -- I can easily identify my preoccupation with social justice in this context. What a Nomadic archetype implies to me sits well with my unhappiness with an unchanging static life, a dissatisfaction with being "stuck" which to another might feel like roots. I have always been a nomad at heart. I have never been on a sports team. I have never lived in any house longer than 5 years. The idea of maintaining "status quo" in any context actually makes me itchy. I'm not saying its great, it's just most definitely who I am.

But my children are in a different generational archetype. They are Millenials, a Hero generation. "Heroes grow up as increasingly protected post-Awakening children, come of age as team-oriented young optimists during a Crisis, emerge as energetic, overly-confident midlifers, and age into politically powerful elders attacked by another Awakening," says Strauss-Howe.

At first, I was a little concerned by this. Team-oriented optimist is a fitting descriptor of my daughter -- with her "we can do it" attitude and team-oriented activities. But my son? An Aspie? Team-oriented? Optimistic?

As I thought more on it though, a picture began to emerge. He may be filled with anxieties, and he may want to verbally explore every "whatif" possible in order to feel prepared, but given a choice between a negative outlook, and a positive one, he is pretty optimistic. In any family crisis, he is usually the first to say, "At least we are all together." or "We may not have much, but we have each other." He may not choose to work on projects with teams, but he does not identify himself in a singular way. If you asked him who he was, he'd give you his name AND tell you who his family is -- something I sometimes neglect to do.

While I tend to think of my "team" as an abstract of all of humanity, I think my children have a different definition of team. "Different people brought together to bring about a single purpose or goal" is the definition my son gave me when I asked. "People who help each other get something done", my daughter said. Sounds good to me.