Outdoor Literature


Generations: Four Part Cycle






Four Part Cycle: Basic Generational Types

From: Strauss, William and Howe, Neil. Generations: The History of America's Future. New York: William Morrow, 1991

Life Phases (Approximate Age Range):
Youth:  0-21 years old
Rising Adults:  22-43 years old
Midlife:  44-65 years old
Elder:  66-87 years old
Four Basic Generational Types:

Idealistic Generation

Grows up as increasingly indulged youths after a secular crisis.  Comes to age inspiring a spiritual awakening.  Fragments into narcissistic rising adults.  Cultivates principle as moralistic midlifers.  Emerges as visionary elders guiding the next secular crisis.
Reactive Generation

Grows up as underprotected and criticized youth during a spiritual awakening.  Matures into risk-taking, alienated adults.  Mellows into pragmatic midlife leaders during a secular crisis.  Maintains respect (but less influence) as reclusive elders.
Civic Generation

Grows up as increasingly protected youths after a spiritual awakening.  Comes to age overcoming a secular crisis.  Unites into a heroic and achieving cadre of rising adults.  Sustains that image while building institutions as powerful midlifers.  Emerges as busy elders attacked by the next spiritual awakening.
Adaptive Generation

Grows up as overprotected and suffocated youths during a secular crisis.  Matures into risk averse, conformist rising adults.  Produces indecisive midlife arbitrator-leaders during a spiritual awakening.  Maintains influence (but less respect) as sensitive elders.
Life phases are approximately 22 years in length.  Similarly, new generational types occur approximately every 22 years.

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