“OK, boomer” Alternatives: Educate, Not Dismiss

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The catch-phrase “OK, boomer” has reached its peak popularity in 2019 because of Chlöe Swarbrick, a 26-year-old New Zealand politician. Swarbrick used the phrase as a rebuttal to one of her older colleagues in Parliament after the man bothered her during the speech about climate change.

Following that incident, TikTok culture used the song (OK BOOMER!) by Peter Kuli & Jedwill to show how younger generations rebut to angry rants of older generations about kids these days.

Baby boomers, by definition, is the generation born between 1946 and 1965. They are our parents, elderly, or the people who had it real tough during their time.

Meanwhile, millennials (born between 1980 and 1996) who are internet savvy and tech-wise people say that boomers are “out of touch.”

Truthfully, as a Gen Z aka iGen (born between 1995 and 2015), I agree that boomers can sometimes be out of touch and we are experiencing the results that came from their decisions.

Christina Animashaun explained that OK boomer is about our apocalyptic future and not just about the past. It’s about the false stereotypes of ingroup and outgroup generations.

We are reactive to the situations at hand.

If you’re a millennial or iGen you probably have seen this phrase all-around social media or you might have said it at least once in your life.

You might have said it out of reflex to a person you think who talks like a boomer, replied it to someone online, or maybe have already used it as a joke to some of your friends or family.

Before this catch-phrase became popular, we already tend to have arguments with our older family members or random elder online because we disagree with their points. It kind of makes us feel superior when we state our views against theirs.

We forget that they are just humans older than us and have different beliefs and viewpoints because of our generation differences.

I remember my heart racing whenever I need to explain my side to a baby boomer or a millennial. Do you also feel that rush through your bloodstream? That’s our primary reaction kicking in.

As humans, we need to protect our being, our beliefs, and our experiences. In response to a threat, we react rashly so that relief comes our way even if it will only benefit us and hurt the other.

Let’s mind the generation gap.

Generation gaps are the misunderstandings and culture clashes between generations, which are also part of the human condition.

These include stereotyping, that is, generalizing a group and its members negatively where specific traits are appointed to most members, regardless of variation among members.

Imagine a millennial talking about younger gen z teenagers and say that they are more liberated now because of the influence of ~insert culture here~ in our country. It may be true and wrong in others’ perspectives but it is generalizing that all of us are liberated because of the generation we are in.

This is similar to millennial or gen z persons who blame boomers for their irresponsible decisions and actions that lead to the world’s situation right now.

Should this be the case of arguments? Do we need to react to these conversations just to show our superiority from other generations?

Megan Gerhardt, a leadership professor, explained it well when she said,

“Let’s stop the generation shaming, the name-calling, the scapegoating. Let’s instead think about what different generations can both teach and learn from each other, and how those conversations can result in entirely new ways of solving problems.”

Hear them out and share what you know.

In my case, I have been living for 22 years with my lovely baby boomer parents. I tell you, it has been hard not to argue with them because we have different beliefs particularly in politics and human rights.

It had me thinking of other ways to continue the conversations with them instead of begging them to hear my thoughts about the topics.

Mark Perna published an article and explained how to respond to the OK, boomer meme. He said, as a boomer, they are the original “experience is everything” generation that pushed the society’s boundaries.

From his points, we can also respond to boomers by listening to them first then explaining our points in the most respectful way possible.

Advance the conversation.

Instead of saying “ok, boomer” as a reflex to their arguments, do this:

  • Pause and listen. When we are in the heat of the conversation, we see to it that our points will be heard by others clearly and we would accidentally disregard everything that they say. Taking a mental break from your views and actively listening to the other party would help in exchanging the right thoughts and eventually learning from others’ viewpoints.
  • Show respect. Let’s be honest, we want to win every argument that is in front of us because we want to prove that we are right and they are wrong. But be mindful that winning isn’t the goal. It’s okay to lose an argument than to be rude and hurtful especially to your loved ones.
  • Have a common ground. We can influence behavior by building on common ground instead of trying to prove others wrong. Focusing on what we have in common, rather than what we disagreed about, will enable change.
  • Keep it civil. If we can be calm and proactive rather than reactive during heated arguments then it would help save the conversation and could also lead to a fine conclusion. Remember to mind the generation gap and show empathy to others.
Conclusion

Boomers see things differently. Hence, it may motivate us to explain our perspectives in a harmful manner. Make every conversation a chance to have a sound argument and educate each other most respectfully instead of dismissing values.

Here’s a great lesson I gained from The Influential Mind:

If the knowledge you have can fill another’s information gap, highlight the gap; if it can help people better their world, clarify how. Finally, reframe your message so that the information you provide will induce hope, not dread.

How do you respond to arguments?

Do you have other ways to share your knowledge and impact other people’s minds?


Footnotes

Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
– Romans 12:18

This article is inspired by a Filipino song: Nakikinig Ka Ba Sa Akin by Ben&Ben. Thanks for reading until here! I appreciate you. Share this with your friends if you found it helpful.

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