Traditionalists: Talking About My Generation (Part 2)
August 20, 2013

Traditionalists: Talking About My Generation (Part 2)

As I established in my initial blog for this generation series, the Traditionalists were born from 1925 to about 1945, give or take a few years. It is important to note that sometimes Traditionalists are also called the Silent Generation. As young children and teenagers, these people saw and experienced two of the 20th century’s worst nightmares: the Great Depression and World War II. Both of these greatly influenced and shaped this generation into what they are today. It is one thing to learn about these two events and quite another to actually have been a part of them in some way. Naturally, they both left quite an effect.

Moreover, this generation grew into adulthood during the most prosperous times in 20th century America, so they saw the extremes. On one hand they saw and felt death and depravity; on the other, they were rolling in the greatest of times. What dichotomy!?!

The University of Iowa explains that the Traditionalists tend to live by the code “Live to work versus work to live.” This generation has a blind respect for authority and a loyalty rivaled by few others. Because they have this loyalty and respect, this generation was the generation that found a career and stuck with it. They not just stuck to their career choices, but they also stuck with their specific companies. They were not likely to leave their jobs unless fired or forced to resign. Even if they hated their workplace and work colleagues, their loyalty to their jobs, to their commitment to their companies, kept them working.

Loyal was their keyword according to the Montana Office of Public Instruction. Furthermore, it notes that’s Traditionalists value logic and discipline, do not like change, and want to build a legacy. All of these directly reflect those values of loyalty and respect. Logic and discipline naturally lead to respect while loyalty clearly connects with not changing because change might mean disloyalty to the past. Work might be an obligation to this generation, but it is an obligation that they will follow through with loyalty, respect, and dedication.

Likely due to their life experiences, the Traditionalists tend to willingly sacrifice for the greater good. This generation has the Rosie the Riveters and voluntary military service. They willing fought in or otherwise supported World War II and the Korean War because that was just what you did. Plus, they trusted the government. Their loyalty to America knew no bounds. As Dr. Rita Murray identified in her presentation at my college, this generation is known for its patriotism. In fact, they are known as the most patriotic of the generations.

Beyond their commitment to job and country, the Traditionalists are called so because they value traditional morals on the whole. Safety, security, life, liberty, and God drive their choices and actions. They conformed to those traditional morals and do not understand those who do not. Tradition is loyalty. Doing what has always been done is good. Questioning and change are bad. They tend to be more conservative in their dress, politics, religion, and everything.

As for technology, they are not very tech savvy in terms of cell phones, internet, computers, and other media forms. They had radios and televisions, and that’s enough.

Today, the traditionalists are grandparents and great grandparents. They are no longer working and tend to be the generation that is being taken care of, in one way or another, by children and grand children. They still interact in society, though, and they have long memories of decades past. Their input and experiences are a link to a past that was extreme.a

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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