“The real you is still a little child who never grew up . . . These are the happiest moments of your life –when the real you comes out, when you don’t care about the past and you don’t worry about the future.” – The Four Agreements

Why do we judge and criticize other generations?

Think back to when you were a kid not more than 8 or 10 years old. Before all of the hormones kicked in propelling us into adolescence. Before we cared about who we liked and if they liked us back. And before we had to think about what we wanted to be when we grew up. Back when we could do and be what we wanted without caring about the future.

No matter where we grew up or what circumstances we faced, most of us were able to live in this magical world of innocence. Even if we faced difficult times, we could escape them through our imagination by creating our own happy world. Try and remember how it felt to be free. Free from responsibilities, obligations, planning the future, and reliving the past. These were the days that we were free to be ourselves. Yet we couldn’t appreciate what we had. All we wanted to do was grow up and become someone else.

Some of us grew up too fast and some of us still refuse to. But we’ve all seemingly forgotten the joy that is childhood -the freedom to make our own mistakes. If society could remember this freedom of innocence it should try and protect it for the next generations as long as possible. But that doesn’t seem to be the case because the societal world is being forced upon them too soon.


Are we jealous? Or giving them tough love? Are we trying to show them what the “real” world is like? As a society we’ve decided when it’s time to grow up and leave our childish fantasies behind. Society can’t function without the next generation, so it’s up to the preceding generations to prepare them. In doing so, we’ve pushed our expectations of what it means to be a successful adult based on our standards -not their own.

Each generation is just as unique as individuals are. Generations are defined by the time when they were children and young adults -how they were introduced to the world. The historical events, social movements, job markets, genres of music, and lifestyle habits all create a unique experience that only people from that time can truly understand. To expect that those who come after us will live in the same world with the same mentality as we did is unrealistic. Yet we keep insisting that our way is the right way, thus discouraging and dismissing younger generations. We’re all supposed to be role models for future generations. So why are we judging them instead?


Why do we compare one generation to the next? Do we put them down because we’re jealous they’re younger and still have time to avoid the mistakes we’ve made? We need to remember that each phase of life comes with its own challenges. Just as we didn’t know how to navigate it, neither do they. And it’s only gotten more difficult. So instead of following in the footsteps of those before us and making them “learn the hard way”, why don’t we help them?

We need to see the bigger picture. One day we’ll all be reliant on those younger than us to care for us and keep society functioning. It’s a chain reaction, so if one generation stumbles then we all do. If we stop judging generations and decide to support and uplift them instead, we’ll be investing in the progress for all of society.

A young person's hand holding an adult's hand

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1 thought on “Judging Generations”

  1. Wow – it really hit me again after we talked about how different your post 911 generation is in regards to having to deal with the extreme anxieties within our societies. I will forever be mindful and will always cherish our trip to the World Trade Center Memorial. Thanks for your perspective on the way we judge one another.

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