It came to my attention with horror this weekend, that the kids who are off to university later this month weren't born until 1991! For me, 1991 seems like last week. In fact, come to think of it, I can remember more about 1991 that I can about last week!
It got me thinking that we have a generation here who are going to shape our nation & society, & yet they never watched Bagpuss, or public service announcements like the Green Cross Code. They never lived under Mrs Thatcher, & if you said 'Jolly green Giant' to them, they would picture Shrek rather than a plate full of vegetables.
So (with a nod to James Emery White, USA culture guru), here is my stab at how our class of '91 see the world around them -
They think TV's have always been flat.
They believe that Chelsea always were a top 4 team.
They have never written a letter, posted it, & enjoyed the anticipation of waiting for the reply to drop back onto the doormat.
They have never watched the evening news without already knowing what the evening news is.
They think tattoos have always been in vogue & that rap has always been mainstream.
They would call the Police if Jimmy Saville asked them to sit on his knee.
They never lived alongside the Soviet Union, never saw the Berlin wall, never knew Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine et al as anything other than independent nations.
Lists like this are depressing. They show us how impossible it is for each generation to understand the one which has gone before it. They share none of my key moments, they relate to none of my reference points, they have no shared memories to anchor their understanding of the world to mine. It's no wonder they don't listen to us & we can't comprehend them!
How do we communicate into this culture, without sounding like the archetypal trendy Vicar? Should we just leave it to the kids? Well, I do believe there are a few things we can teach them, but it involves us learning too. We have to make an effort to understand their worldview & to some extent keep pace. More importantly, we mustn't move from the key places we are anchored to in our own story. Or, to put it another way, there are some things in our message which cut across any culture - we've just got to find the right package to send them in.
Feel free to add to the list!