I’m one of those tail-end Baby Boomers, which really only means that I missed out on most of the good stuff inextricably linked with that generation. I was too young to be a hippie and go to Woodstock or to wear my cork-souled platform shoes to dance at Studio 54. Tail-end Boomers like me were the first latchkey kids who grew up on Hamburger Helper and reruns. Ignoring my homework, I planted myself in front of the TV until dinner, watching The Big Valley, Leave It to Beaver, and Dragnet, the late ’60s cop drama about Los Angeles detectives Friday and Gannon. When Sgt. Joe Friday was on a roll lecturing the bad guys, I was transfixed. One such lecture from 1968 contains his musings on the youth of today, back then. In it, he chastises three hippies for ignoring how easy they have it, telling them, “You’ve grown up on instant orange juice; flip a dial, instant entertainment; dial seven digits, instant communication; turn a key, push a pedal, instant transportation; flash a card, instant money . . .” Sound familiar?
Millennials, like the generations that have gone before them, have been the subject of criticism by their elders for being spoiled, self-centered, and lazy. We’ve heard the complaints that they never look up from their phones, don’t work late, and expect everything to be handed to them. As I recall it, hippies were going to be the end of America, too. The reality is that the Boomers grew up, got jobs, had kids, and America prospered. So, I’m not pessimistic about the country’s future or the future of our bar organization. The next generation of lawyers will do things very differently from the Boomers but, then, the future is never like the past. TIPS is changing to serve the needs of the next generation of members and leaders. They are not just coming, they are already here, and we need to provide the value and services they need or they will find them somewhere else.