*originally written April 29, 2019
Week 28: Generations
I’m a Gen Xer and consider myself a #childoftheeighties. I grew up with Strawberry Shortcake and Cabbage Patch Kids and came of age with hair bands and MTV.
I sat down today to ponder my #LibraryThoughts after seeing a post in my Facebook Memories that my sister, Angel Ann Bardo, made last year. It was asking what is the first major news story you remember from your childhood. She couldn’t remember which came first; Baby Jessica or the Jimmy Swaggart scandal, but those were the memories that came to mind for her. She had comments including the assassination of JFK and the Challenger explosion among others. What is the first one you remember?
That reminded me of a program that was on tv a couple of weeks or so ago. No one was watching it, it was just on. But I found myself being drawn in and asking the husband what that show is, because it was giving me major flashbacks to huge moments in my life’s history; things that were revolutionary in the culture at the time; things I had experienced but didn’t realize what a big deal it was at the time. Of course, looking back I can see how those moments changed the course of pop culture and therefore, culture in general. (Age old question: Does art imitate life, or does life imitate art? Or is it both?)
MTV launched on August 1, 1981. I’m not sure when it came available via cable to us in my town, but before it made it here, it was available in a local college town. My friend, Carol Conley, has an aunt who still lives in that same house where we used to go and spend the night. You see, Aunt Honey had MTV. We would stay up all night long watching the same probably 7 videos that played over and over. Lol! It was glorious!! And we had no idea how that was changing the face of music, the music industry, and popular culture.
MTV had the Top 10 videos on every evening. I’ll never forget that #1 always came on during dinner time. We kept the tv up loud enough so my mom, Angie Waide, and I could go running in to see #1 when it came on. Two that have particularly strong memories when I think of those times are Guns ‘n’ Roses’ Sweet Child O’ Mine and Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead or Alive. My teen years were a swirl of appreciation for and love of music from my mom’s teen years combined with the hair bands of my own. Then something happened: Nirvana. No, not that kind. The band.
Nirvana hit the national stage with the release of their album Nevermind and the single Smells Like Teen Spirit in 1991. That was the year I graduated high school, and the hair bands came to a screeching halt. Grunge had taken over in one fell swoop! Gone were the huge Aqua Net hair-do’s and the brightly colored spandex. The dirty hair and flannel came in like a wrecking ball.
Looking back over history, one can see things that happened that forever alter the course of history and the way we live our lives. Sometimes it’s as simple as a change in music. Sometimes it’s as profound as a World War.
Different generations have come to be defined by certain names. Like I mentioned before, I’m a Gen Xer. What bracket/generation do you fall into?
2000 to present: New Silent Generation or Generation Z
1980 to 2000: Millennials or Generation Y
1965 to 1979: Thirteeners or Generation X
1946 to 1964: Baby Boomers
1925 to 1945: Silent Generation
1900 to 1924: G.I. Generation
As much as the culture changes and humanity continues its ebb and flow, I’m reminded of the words of King Solomon…
Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV)
9 What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
And I take comfort in these words from Isaiah 40:28 as well…
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
Each generation has its changes and struggles, but we remember that, like the generation before us, we aren’t the first. Most importantly, as we navigate the topsy-turvy that is assigned to our generation, we can take comfort knowing that our God is unchanging. He is The Everlasting God.
I’d like to share with you a non-hair band song that had a huge impact on me during a very difficult time in my life, back when I had broken my back…but that’s a story for another day. In the meantime, be encouraged by Chris Tomlin’s “Everlasting God” >>> https://youtu.be/yubLGTOcm8c