Immediately following World War II, there was the largest increase in population for the United States ever recorded. This increase in births lasted approximately 20 years. If you were born between 1946 and 1964 you were part of this trend and you are part of the Baby Boomer generation. Being part of the “Me” generation was a significant event socially and culturally in the United States.
If you’re looking for role models for this generation you need to go no further than the last three presidents. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama are part of the Boomer generation. You don’t have to look into the White House to find role models for the generation, but it might be a good idea to define what it means to be considered a ‘role model.’ We consider our role models in a manner that mostly resembles a popularity contest. Often celebrities and athletes are role models by default.
While we admire teachers and family members, they sometimes elude wearing the badge of distinction for being role models. When you’re part of a bigger picture, such as politicians, and make differences in the world at large, then it’s possible you could be part of the category. When a senator spends their time in office attempting to make things better for their constituents then they can be considered someone to admire and look up to, someone we measure ourselves against.
Actress Diane Keaton was born at the beginning of the Baby Boomers. She has credits as a director, producer, and screenwriter, as well as being an actress. However, is she a role model? Interestingly, one can rattle off a list of names of people born within the 20-year span when other Baby Boomers were born. There would likely be a list of noteworthy people to include in the list. The question remains while they may be popular and have names many people recognize would they be role models for the generation? While Jackie Kennedy is considered a cultural icon because of the fashion sense she exhibited during her husband’s presidency and most American women wanted to be like her, she was not part of the generation. John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr. was part of the Baby Boomer generation although not as notable as his parents. Steven Paul Jobs was an American technology entrepreneur born within the ‘Me’ generation. His inventions and visions are part of everyday life for people worldwide. He and Bill Gates (another Baby Boomer) created philanthropic opportunities that were revolutionary and made technology available to everyone on the planet. Read more here.
The question still lingers if business leaders and computer programmers are considered role models? Ultimately, it comes to the individual as to who is worthy of the moniker. We choose to consider our leaders by popular vote. Our money makes popular actors richer when we buy movie tickets. Mary Temple Grandin is well known in limited circles. She was a professor of animal science at Colorado State University. It was her diagnosis of autism that put her in the public eye. In 2010, she was listed in Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential people in the ‘Hero’ category. She was a Baby Boomer first, and doesn’t that make her a role model too?
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