When three generations are present in a family, one of them is bound to be revolutionary.

What did Elise M. Boulding mean by:

When three generations are present in a family, one of them is bound to be revolutionary.


This quote suggests that in any family where three generations coexist, one of them is likely to bring about radical changes or challenge the established norms. Each generation is shaped by different socio-cultural circumstances that influence their perspectives and attitudes. Therefore, the generational gap often leads to conflicting ideas and beliefs, which can act as a catalyst for revolutionary changes.

The first generation, usually the grandparents, have traditional and conservative values molded by their past experiences. The second generation, the parents, often find themselves in a balancing act, trying to reconcile their parents’ values with their own and the changing world. The third generation, the children, are more likely to be open to new ideas and have a greater propensity for change, given their exposure to a rapidly evolving world. They are often the ones who challenge the status quo and bring about ‘revolutionary’ changes.

Applying this concept to the contemporary world, we can see how rapid technological advancement has created a significant generational divide. The older generation might struggle with understanding and adapting to new technologies, the middle generation may be more adaptable but still hold on to traditional ways, while the younger generation, digital natives, embrace and drive technological change.

In terms of personal development, this idea can be seen as an encouragement to challenge established norms and conventions. It suggests that progress and growth often come from questioning and reevaluating the beliefs and practices of previous generations. This doesn’t mean outright rejection, but rather a thoughtful analysis and adaptation according to the needs and understanding of the current time.

In essence, this quote is a reflection on the dynamics of generational differences and the inevitable progression of society. It reminds us that change, often driven by the youngest generation, is not only inevitable but also necessary for societal growth and development.

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