I could not help but notice at a recent community meeting the different generations that were represented. As many as five generations were present. The “white tops” of gray hair made the traditionalist generation (born before 1945) obvious. They have been around longer than the Reston community.
Reston was founded at the end of the birth period of baby boomers (1946 to 1964) that is also referred to as the me generation. The increased birth rates after World War II made it one of the larger generations. The median age of Restonians is estimated to be 39.2 years with boomers making up a significant number of the current population.
Coming on strong in numbers and leadership for our community are the millennials who were born between 1977 to 1995. Millennials surpassed the baby boomers in number. Generation Z make up the remainder of our population having been born in the mid-1990’s or after.
Of course, generations are not as precisely defined as the dates above might suggest. There are characteristics of time and events that help to define periods in which people are born. Likewise, there are other names given to the generations beyond those listed here. Some of those names are friendly and obvious and others are characterized as critical by those who came from another generation.
I will not attempt to define in this short essay the characteristics of the generations for there is much controversy over the adjectives used to describe persons of another generation. Suffice it to say that technology, work, education and social mores influence characteristics of each generation that make each unique.
Reston is a diverse community in many ways including the number of active generations that live here. Pay attention to the different perspectives that are reflected in community debates. Some of our differences come about simply because we come from different generations with all the implications that brings to the discussion.
Our life experiences with social media, education, and diversity come together to have us like different housing styles, expectations of the community and the workplace, social experiences, and the like. These factors should not divide us; they need to be seen as the lush tapestry that makes up the rich diversity of our community and makes it the wonderful place it is to live. One generation is not somehow “better” than another. We can all learn from each other and be stronger as a result. It has long been expressed that young people need to pay attention to their elders. Equally as important is that people like me and others of my generation need to pay attention to our young people. They are amazingly bright and strengthen our community when they choose to live among us!