After discussing the opening question, share this information from New York Times columnist David Brooks. His article points out that our use of words has changed over the last 50 years.
A study by Jean M. Twenge, W. Keith Campbell and Brittany Gentile found that between 1960 and 2008 individualistic words and phrases increasingly overshadowed communal words and phrases. Ponder this quote together:
That is to say, over those 48 years, words and phrases like “personalized,” “self,” “standout,” “unique,” “I come first” and “I can do it myself” were used more frequently. Communal words and phrases like “community,” “collective,” “tribe,” “share,” “united,” “band together” and “common good” receded.
- What are some words and phrases you think people increasingly use that highlight the individual rather than the community?
- What does this change in our language say about how people approach relationship conflict?
We want to hear from you! How are you discussing the problem of self-centeredness in relationships with the boomers in your class or small group?