A Generation On A Pedestal?
By Michele Goff
What sets this generation of “echo boomers” apart from their baby boomer parents? Baby boomers grew up in a time when stitching flowers on your favorite jeans was a great after school event. Without cable television, computers and cell phones, baby boomers actually had to find things to occupy their time. Keeping in touch with friends required regular old landline telephones and catching up with the latest gossip required actual face-to-face communication after school.
So what about these “echo boomers?” What do baby boomers think about them?
“Echo boomers” are growing up in a time when writing papers for school can be edited at the press of a button, research conducted at their desks in the comfort of their bedrooms, and staying in touch with their friends can mean text messages at five minute intervals. Pretty sweet stuff, however, the pressures to succeed at everything are much greater than they ever were for their baby boomer parents.
While baby boomers grew up entertaining themselves in the backyard with tree forts and games of touch football after school, the “echo boomers” are busy attending ballet class, soccer practice and hardcore tutoring sessions so that getting into the right college will happen.
There is no doubt that the “echo boomer” generation has set high standards for themselves. They work hard in school, expecting to gain acceptance into the colleges of their choice. They are less a “me generation” than their baby boomer parents, being part of a team is very important. But, it is apparent their baby boomer parents have placed them on a pedestal. Perhaps because baby boomers waited to have children until they were older and more successful, they value their children that much more, along with the fact they can afford to buy them almost anything.
Keeping up with the latest trends is very important to the “echo boomers.” They are fashion conscious, and want whatever their newest pop idol is wearing. The money they make companies manufacturing the items they purchase is astounding. More so than baby boomers they seem to require instant gratification, new jeans today, means new jeans today. It would appear they are growing up faster than baby boomers did, the latest in expensive electronics is purchased by the youngest of the “echo boomers”. Baby boomers spent their summers working at the local DQ saving up for that new stereo.
There are many signs that the “echo boomers” are a much more law-abiding generation than the baby boomers. Teen pregnancy, violent crime and the use of alcohol and tobacco are all dropping rapidly in the “echo boomer” generation. They rarely protest, how shocking that there were no groups of angry teens and early twenty-something’s holding protest rallies against the war in Iraq.
The “echo boomer” generation is growing up in a time when the world is shrinking. With sophisticated telecommunications equipment keeping us in constant touch with just about every country in the world, it is no wonder that this generation feels at home anywhere. They are well traveled, their baby boomer parents are making sure of that. One doesn’t vision them doing the classic summer backpacking trip across Europe, sleeping on trains and in youth hostels.
As somewhat spoiled as the “echo boomers” may seem, they are a generation that has had a positive influence on our society. They are well educated, well traveled and completely “up to the minute” aware about all that is happening around the globe.