Whatever baby boomers do, though I technically fall in that category, don’t count me in it. First off, I don’t like labels and Baby Boomers has been one of my least favorites since it made its debut years ago. Secondly, labeling gives folks an opportunity to judge me and my book by the cover without taking time to know who I really am.

My 41-year old daughter said her 12-year-old daughter replied with this “OK Boomer,” term last week. Of course, she had to explain it to me. Younger generations—Millennials, GenXers, etc., use it when older people say things that are old-fashioned, outdated, or judgmental, and an eye roll comes with it for maximum effect.

I laughed because it reminded me of the George Jones video for “Who’s gonna fill their shoes?” Mr. Jones and his tour bus driver stop at a filling station long forgotten by the interstate highways and progress. The proprietor wants the country star to add his signature to his legends’ guitar. As Jones exits the bus, he greets the proprietor “Hey Old Timer” though they look about the same age.

Whether we’re of the same age/generation or a different one, it is critical that we be more tolerant and appreciative of differences and opinions in every place. Some older people swear younger ones are spoiled and soft because they had it “easy.” Some younger folks think we don’t understand them because we have different language and standards.

Unfortunately, in the work place, in community organizations, at church—pick a place—rarely do we take time to examine generational stereotypes to see what these “different” folks are really made of. As I get older—64 to infinity in just a day or two, here’s what I know:

No matter what age or stage we’re in, we each have value and we want to be seen, appreciated, and treated as individuals. Some things you can’t know unless/until you live and experience them for yourself.

My mother would tell us “a bought lesson is better than no lesson at all.” Trust me, the ones we bought are usually etched in stone, but every day somebody’s creating a more excellent way to do what has already been done. We can respect and learn from that, too. The lesson for today is TEACH AND LEARN.

I love working with students and children because they have wisdom, honesty, and energy to share. These younger generations are amazing, fearless, hardworking, service and mission minded, environmentally astute and inspired by causes bigger than themselves.

They “get it” and they didn’t just “get it.” They figured “it” out a long time ago and it wasn’t at a meeting to plan the meeting about the planned meeting that we met about last week at the meeting! (Ok, Boomers, can you tell I’ve been to one too many meetings? I, too, am adding my own eye roll for effect.)

We all want to do things that matter and oftentimes when “our” way is challenged, we fall back on snide or derogatory remarks about “old” or “young” people instead of searching for and providing suitable answers. Despite what we’ve been led to believe, ours is not the only way and the “my way or the highway” philosophy doesn’t work well even if we call an Uber or get a Lyft!

As our language evolves, how we talk to and about each other will be important whether we embrace the rest of our group or choose to be a loner and a rebel. We really can all get along.

Did you receive an eye roll or an “OK, Boomer” remark of late? Share your opinion with me at #drbondhopson on Twitter and Facebook.

Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. All the way from Stanton, TN (you can’t get there from here) to 50 states, six continents and everything in between, she’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful. She enthusiastically invites you to slow down, sit a spell, and share a giggle or two.

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