A Generation On The Move
That the inauguration of Barack Obama was historic is an undeniable fact. We were struck by his call to “reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation.” His address tasks “this generation of Americans” to move away from irresponsibility and “our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.”
He exhorts America to “set aside childish things” and go forward as “risk-takers,” “doers,” and “makers of things” instead of choosing “leisure over work” or seeking only the “pleasures of riches and fame.” His scope is broad, but it would be hard not to see in his words a reflection of the real estate bubble, when homes were bought without down payments or any real ability to pay, and when riches were made while neglecting prudent financial care.
As students of generational behaviors, we noted that his address alluded to the team-work “can-do” personality of the G.I. Generation who won a war on two fronts, ushered in the age of invention and put a man on the moon. His call to renew that spirit has resonated with the Millennial Generation and the young Gen Xers. Researchers have already tagged them as the “next Greatest Generation” in the footsteps of the G.I. Generation.
We saw a note of chastisement of the “narrow interests” of the Me Generation and the “lack of decision making” of the Silent Generation, though he never specifically singled out a group or a generation. He challenges us all to join in the cause of “common purpose and the necessity of courage” in remaking America.
In his call to remake America, he reminds us of past brave Americans who embodied “a spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves.” And then he exhorts us, saying, “…at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all…What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility.….” Indeed, it is the term “responsibility” that rings most loudly in his address. It is a call to apply ourselves to the many problems that we have neglected. And for us, it is a call to rededicate our profession to the responsible representation of clients and to the part we must play in restoring the housing market to financial health.
President Obama’s final words should call us all to action. “Let it be said by our children’s children that … we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.”
(Portions of this article were excerpted from Generational Housing, Myth or Mastery, a book authored by Carmen Multhauf, CEO Generational Housing Council, and Lloyd G. Multhauf, Ph.D)
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