Words for the Generations

Sometimes, I make messes with my words.

Sometimes, I say things that I wish I had not said or that I at least had said BETTER.

Sometimes, God uses my words to bless or encourage, to teach or inspire, to support or motivate. I like those time better.

Proverbs 25:11 says

A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.

Yum. I want to sweeten my life and the lives of those around me. I want my words to shine like silver and reflect the Jesus that I love.

One of the things I am learning more about each day is that AGE MATTERS when it comes to chatters 🙂

I am learning, usually the hard way ’cause that’s how I roll, that not only do my words matter but it matters how OLD the person is that I am talking to. Yep. Different age groups, hear differently.

Here’s the skinny.


The “Silent” Generation (born before 1945)

Like to feel respected and honored; they appreciate good grammar; tone of voice matters as much as what your are speaking; they don’t like cussin’ or slang words like “this sucks”.  See, if you are in that group or even close that word makes you cringe! This group is pretty private and don’t really mix personal family business in with business business. They have pretty clear boundaries between those two worlds.


Baby Boomers (1946-1964) ME 🙂

We like RELATIONSHIP based discussions. I want you to CARE about how I feel and what I think because I am going to care about it very much. I can not easily separate my work/ministry from my heart. I FEEL things in ways deeper than the obvious business discussion. Visions; mission; goals; passion; heart; reasons for my investment–all matter to me when discussing business, family, friends of faith.


Generation X ((1965-1980)

This group generally like things to be specific and to the point. Don’t mix a bunch of splitting paths into the discussion. Stick with the point. Stay on the task at hand. Be direct and straightforward. Send an email. Text a response. Be specific and stick with the plan. Stick with the facts as they are obvious. Don’t in/out or sideways. Business is business. Family is family.


Generation Y (or Millennials) (Born yesterday) (aka–after 1980)

These guys like a positive word. They love text talk but love face to face equally as much. They want time and attention. They want communication and information. They want to know why. They want mentors. They don’t like cynicism or condescending talking AT; They don’t embrace sarcasm. They have lots of personal goals and have a hopeful view of the world.

Now, think about a recent or current communication conflict and ask yourself—as I am doing as well—

How did I do with the person I am trying to communicate with?

Have I honored THEIR needs? Have I expressed my heart in the way THEY best understand?

Have my words smelled of sweet apples and sparkling silver? Most importantly, have I reflected the Jesus that I serve and love?

I’d LOVE to read your words!


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  1. Great post. I totally fit Ito my category of the baby boomers. I have two adult children, one ineachnof the other categories. Both are right on. I live learning communication. I must damp it my tongue has needed some taming. This makes me want to be better.
    Thanks Pat

      1. Carlolyn, I barely type anything without a typo. Spell check changes my WORDS all the time, I think she is very Gen Y LOL!!! Let’s just keep learning 🙂

  2. Wodnerful post…definitely worthy of the attention of everyone but especially those of us in ministry. While I am a Baby boomer…just barely, I fit more into the Gen X with regard to your descriptions.

    1. Wow Leah, that surprises me about you! As little as I know you face to face, I would guess you to be more of a detailed communicator. I thought this stuff was pretty interesting.
      Blessings Sister–regardless of your style, keep talking and teaching!

  3. I am a Babyboomer. I have 20+ employees who are all represented in those groups. We serve hundreds who are in those groups. I would love to have more insight so we can serve them… so we can serve each other. I dare to imagine 🙂 if we understood how each other heard, spoke, learned, and loved we would all be more happy, whole, and set free. Pat, thanks for being His. I love what Jesus is doing through you. Blessings

    1. Thank you Dottie. You do AMAZING work yourself friend. Thank you for taking time to say hi and leaving such sweet words of encouragement! Your dear, communicate beautifully!!!

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