From the Author
After all, if you include my grandparents, parents, siblings, nieces and nephews and their children and now even grandchildren, my family's span of years covers all six generations alive today. I didn't, however, consider how significant it was that I was raised in such a multi-generational family until my sophomore year of college.
In my Organizational Development class, I saw a video that would change my life. The video, based on the work of author Morris Massey, was called What You Are Is Where You Were When. The video's message was that the events that happened in the world when you were ten years old forever influenced your worldview. I was astonished. Besides thinking about what happened when I was ten, I applied the idea to other members of my family. For the first time, I thought about what the world was like when my father was ten years old: The United States was in the middle of the Great Depression. My father was orphaned as a baby, so he would not meet his siblings and extended family until he was ten years old. As I began to think about how those events may have shaped his worldview and his parenting choices, I reevaluated my reactions to what I had perceived as his strictness and over-protectiveness. My relationship with my dad was forever changed by that simple insight. An idea began to form within me that would take years to express, "What if we could all understand the formative events and core influences of the people we love, live and work with?" This book is the expression of those early nuggets of insight and joy that changed my life.
That video and the realizations that followed it led me to become more involved in generational studies, keynote addresses, training, and consulting. It became readily apparent to me that something was needed to provide a framework in which the power of understanding generational paradigms could be harnessed and put to effective use. After a number of attempts to create this framework to improve understanding of these paradigms, I discovered some general elements or categories for how members of each generation thought and acted, and if compared, these elements clearly showed how each generation approached family relationships as well as professional and other life issues. This approach resulted in identifying a number of elements,
a prism if you will, through which generational characteristics could be identified and generally understood. The result of that framework and understanding is this book and the information it contains. I hope readers will find it a useful and insightful tool for bringing the power and knowledge of different generations to bear on personal and professional issues, and ultimately, for enriching our love and understanding of the people in our lives.