Generational Differences

Frauke Theilking Generation Photo Project

The next generation seems to be a hot topic right now! Probably because all of us nursery “kids” are now getting to that age where we’re becoming full fledged adults – not just the 18 year old kind – but the full-time job, first house, married with or without kids kind of adults. And as we mature and take on more responsiblity, the norm starts to shift. ‘This is the way it’s been done for years’ is being questioned and perhaps even challenged. But what do I know, maybe it’s not like that for everyone, but it’s definitely like that over here at our nursery (and I bet if your case is otherwise, then your children may not be voicing their difference of opinion, but I’m sure they harbor some). 

I consider my parents fairly open-minded. I grew up in a somewhat democratic family, where you had a say and a voice, but but ultimately my parents still made the decisions. So growing up this way and being raised with the nursery as such an integrated part of our lives, this sense of democracy has carried its way over as I stepped into the family business. Within the last few years as I’ve started my own family and hit 30 (eek! – well actually 31 one as of yesterday!), my sense of maturity has really evolved and I officially feel old when strolling by CSUF on the way to a football game.

Previously my only concern was marketing and outside of that I really had little interest in else what was going on. Now, I have a hard time accepting my previous notions of ‘eh, it’s not my problem’ when it comes to something that can be done better at the nursery. This has as led to voicing my opinions more adamantly than I had in the past in regards to issues at the company and ways that we do things around here…which had been consistently received with resistance, anger and excuses…which at its worse point earlier this year eventually led to a huge blow up between my dad and I, which then resulted in me turning in my future resignation at the end of this year – but before you run away with this – we ended up working it out and gaining a better understanding of each other. And I think my dad is finally coming to the realization that the next generation may have ideas worth hearing (other than our annual catalog themes which we argue about every year, because every year he thinks I’ve pushed the envelope too far…but that’s another story). I know I can be stubborn and frustrating at times, but guess who I get that from?

I’m not saying that what my parents have created isn’t a feat in itself or that they have nothing to contribute to the company anymore – it’s far from that. All I’m saying is this, “If you change nothing, nothing will change” – so don’t be surprised when the same issues arise again and again. Maybe it’s time to start allowing the new blood take the reins a little…maybe it’s time to allow us “kids” to show you that we’re not kids anymore…


(image via the Frauke Theilking ‘Generation’ photo project)

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