I recently took a risk and asked my son to listen to a few songs that I thought he should know about. He's a 12-year-old music critic with his own site where he discusses songs and videos with other teens, so he mostly just rolls his eyes if I ever mention a song I like or if I ask
"What's a Skrillex?" But this time he said "I like it" and added the song to his playlist (it was Van Halen's "Cradle Will Rock").
The lyrics of this 30-year-old song talk about "this younger generation" -- now my age -- and I know there were 30-year-old songs at the time about the previous "younger generation." It seems every generation has a series of songs about not being understood by their parents. When we grow up, we just somehow seem to forget that we were once that misunderstood rock fan.
Listening to Rock 'N' Roll reminds me we are older now and our viewpoints have changed. We're now looking for some peace of mind, some indication that our kids are not going to make stupid mistakes and run the businesses and lives we've worked so hard to build into the ground.
We don't "get them," we may not be sure of their motivations and their ideas certainly are different than ours. They may want to takes risks, may not want to spend 80 hours a week at the office like we did. They may spend more and save less, treat their employees like friends instead of subordinates and all kinds of crazy stuff that we just don't get.
We may be right -- they may be doing it all wrong. They may just ruin it all, throw it away and let the company fail. But that's a possibility even if they are a younger, mirror-image of ourselves, with no greater plan than to completely duplicate what we've been doing forever. There are no guarantees.
Rock 'N' Roll ultimately teaches us to go back, think about what everyone said to us when we were the "new breed," when we had something to prove and when every adult talked down to us or offered us lessons, good or bad. Think about how every generation says "I don't get the music/clothes/lifestyle/whatever" these kids today are into -- especially if your kids are closer to 40 than teenagers and you still aren't sure.
It's their generation, their "music" to play and it's our time to settle in, take our buy out or pension, hop on a cruise liner and listen to "the oldies" and let them live their lives.
Take a lesson from the musical generation gap that occurs in every new cycle of growing up and realize that you're not hearing what they're hearing. Let go.
And Rock ON!
Follow James M. Lynch on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JamesLynchCoach