Do you know how it feels to be a middle kid? Not enjoying the privileges of the oldest. Nor the spoiling of the youngest. Well, I just figured out that every one in my age group could logically have middle kid syndrome.
Here we are, squeezed between The Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomers. On one side, our brave parents who fought wars and the Great Depression, and on the other our younger siblings and our children, welcomed into the world with joy after WW2 ended and the economy was healthy.
And what is this middle generation called? The Silent Generation. Coined by Time Magazine in 1951 (but seldom used) this phrase describes people born from 1929 to 1946. A small demographic because families had fewer children during these hard times, struggling as they were to support the ones they had.
Why silent? Several reasons. During these decades, the adage “Children should be seen and not heard” was popular. Our formative years were war years, when “loose lips sink ships.” We reached adulthood during the Korean Conflict, followed by the Cold War with the spying and the intimidation of the House Committee on Un-American Activities run by Senator Joseph McCarthy. Their witch-hunt methods made people afraid to speak freely about their political opinions and beliefs.
But we came through it with many positive characteristics. Our Generation honored family values. We were perhaps the last generation of a majority of stay-at-home moms. We have the largest percentage of voters by demographic groups. We are the most financially sound — as a group — probably because we were raised with the old saying, “Waste not, want not.” We’re patriotic. We volunteer. We tithe.
Some of our age group were not so silent as they left their mark on history: Martin Luther King, Jr., John Glenn, Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem.
All our lives we have heard the cry for new schools, more housing, and (most recently) improvements in Social Security, Medicare and other retirement benefits — all for the Boomers that are coming along behind us. We have helped carry the load, quietly, responsibly, seldom mentioning that we too might like to be recognized for what we have given to society.
Like I said, Middle Kid Syndrome.